The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates stormwater runoff through the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). The EPA authorized the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to implement the NPDES Stormwater Permitting Program. TCEQ is responsible for issuing permits and performing compliance and enforcement activities as the NPDES permitting authority in Texas.
TCEQ developed a storm water program to significantly reduce the pollutants discharged from cities and urban areas. The City of Richland Hills is categorized in Phase II of the program being a municipality with less than 100,000 citizens.
The program is currently underway and is designed to reduce the discharge of pollutants to the maximum extent practicable, protect the water quality, effectively prohibit illicit discharges to the system, and to satisfy the appropriate water quality requirements of the Clean Water Act.
Stormwater Management also oversees the implementation of and adherence to best Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plans and compliance of the City’s Storm Water Management Policies.
HOW STORMWATER POLLUTION EFFECTS THE ENVIRONMENT
Stormwater pollution may adversely affect the environment. Harmful materials including petroleum products, pesticides, detergents and other chemicals pollute stream, creek, river and lake water. This pollution can hurt aquatic ecosystems by killing organisms including fish, shellfish and vegetation.
Streams and creeks feed into rivers, lakes and the ocean. We all drink water, so we are all affected when our water is polluted. When water treatment costs rise, the price of drinking water goes up. If you like to fish, swim or boat, you may have heard or been affected by advisories warning you not to swim, fish or boat in a certain area because of unhealthy water or too much algae.
When natural materials such as yard trimmings break down, oxygen is drawn from the water. In a natural setting the amount of this debris is limited to the leaves of those plants and trees bordering creeks. In an urban setting, leaves and dirt on paved areas throughout the entire city are washed into creeks. A lot of natural debris can ruin the natural balance of the creeks and harm fish.
In addition, pesticides, oil leaked onto roads and driveways and other pollutants are scoured from all the paved surfaces throughout the city and washed directly into creeks and ultimately our drinking water.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Storm water pollution can be controlled if everyone plays a part in preventing these substances from entering the storm drain inlets in the streets where they live and work.
You can help prevent storm water pollution by:
- Picking up after your pets
- Avoid blowing leaves and grass clippings onto sidewalks and streets
- Applying fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides when rain is not expected
- Picking up litter
- Disposing of hazardous chemicals properly