Stormwater runoff is precipitation from rain or snowmelt that flows over the ground, parking lots and streets. Stormwater can pick up debris, vegetation, chemicals, dirt, grass clippings, leaves and other pollutants. These pollutants flow directly into the local storm drain system or water body.
Anything that enters a storm drain system is discharged, untreated, into the waterbodies we use for swimming, fishing, and providing drinking water. In Merced, these waters drain directly into Bear Creek, Black Rascal Creek, and other natural waterways.
Chlorinated water discharged to surface waters has an adverse effect on local water quality. Swimming pools are a major source of chlorinated water discharged into sanitary and storm sewer systems. An average swimming pool holds 19,000 gallons of highly chlorinated water, which is toxic to wildlife and fish. Dechlorinated swimming pool water discharged to the Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTW) must have a pH value in the range of six (6) to ten (10) standard units.
Remember: Only Rain Down the Drain
To keep the storm water leaving your home or workplace clean, follow these simple guidelines:
- Use pesticides and fertilizers sparingly.
- Repair auto leaks. Contain auto fluids and dispose of fluids at designated collection locations.
- Dispose of household hazardous waste and batteries at designated collection and recycling locations.
- Clean up after your pet, dispose of waste in your garbage can.
- Use a commercial car wash to clean your vehicle.
- Sweep up yard debris rather than hosing down areas. Compost or recycle yard waste when possible.
- Dispose of paint at any local paint store, there should be no cost involved.
- Sweep up and properly dispose of construction debris like concrete or mortar.
- Lawn and shrub trimmings should not be blown into the street or gutters, sweep up and properly dispose in your green can.
The Merced Municipal Code section detailing the Storm Water System can be viewed on municode.com.