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May 29, 2014

Storm Water Runoff Pollution… How Does it Affect You?

As we are in the midst of a rainy spring (at least in Michigan), it is only fitting to bring up the topic, of stormwater runoff pollution.   You may assume this topic does not pertain to you, though in fact, it pertains to everyone.  As told by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “stormwater runoff occurs when precipitation from rain or snowmelt flows over the ground.  The runoff can pick up debris, chemicals, dirt, and other pollutants and flow into a storm sewer system or directly to a lake, stream, river, wetland, or coastal waters.”  Shockingly, the EPA found 40% of all lakes and streams are too polluted to use for fishing or swimming in the United States, a main culprit to this pollution; stormwater runoff.   Now do you believe it pertains to you?

There are many activities causing stormwater pollution, these include; lawn care, septic systems, auto care, pet waste, residential landscaping, commercial areas, construction sites, automotive facilities, agriculture, and improperly managing lodging operations.  The EPA supplies a helpful handout on preventative steps you can take for stormwater runoff pollution:

  1. Use fertilizers sparingly and sweep up driveways, sidewalks, and gutters
  2. Never dump anything down storm drains or in streams
  3. Vegetate bare spots in your yard
  4. Compost your yard waste
  5. Use least toxic pesticides, follow labels, and learn how to prevent pest problems
  6. Direct downspouts away from paved surfaces; consider a rain garden to capture runoff
  7. Take your car to the car wash instead of washing it in the driveway
  8. Check your car for leaks and recycle your motor oil
  9. Pick up after your pet
  10. Have your septic tank pumped and system inspected regularly

Municipality employees have the greatest leadership opportunity to demonstrate stormwater runoff pollution prevention, specifically, municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) employees. Because of the variety of job functions MS4 employees hold directly related to runoff areas, they are able to lead the way in in pollution prevention.  Spills, leaks, and drips are the largest causes of stormwater pollution from municipal facilities.  With the potential harm that storm water runoff pollution holds, it is vital every employee is trained on prevention techniques and procedures.
This time of year serves as perfect opportunity to assign refresher courses while ensuring each employee is properly trained on these prevention practices.  Mastery recently updated eight courses designed to help with delivering proper training:

All of these titles are now available on the VOD3 platform, which allows learners to seamlessly take training on any desktop, tablet or smart phone. Visit for more information. 

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