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Storm Water & Pollution Prevention

The US EPA and the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) have determined that storm water discharges and urban runoff are significant sources of water pollution that can threaten aquatic life and public health. The SWRCB regulates storm water discharges and urban runoff from municipal sources in California. In 2013, the SWRCB adopted the Phase II Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (Small MS4) General Permit that specifically requires the City of Turlock to comply with detailed regulations.

Storm water runoff is said to account for up to 80% of the pollution in some of our streams. Each year, people pour hazardous chemicals, pesticides, paints, detergents, antifreeze, and used motor oil down storm drains. Rainwater washes along neighborhood gutters into storm drains, eventually flowing into the San Joaquin River. It is important to understand that roadways are directly connected to our rivers. Whatever lands on the road, whether it is gas, oil, brake dust, or any number of other contaminants, end up going down the storm drain and into local waterways. Part of the problem is the common misconception that storm water is treated for pollutants the way household sewage is treated. Storm water does not go to a treatment plant. Instead, it carries pollutants that are dumped onto streets, gutters or storm drains directly into our waterways.

Best Management Practices

There are a number of ways that every one of us can implement best management practices (BMPs) to help reduce or eliminate pollutant discharges to storm drains.

Some of these BMPs include:
  • Sweeping up grass clippings and leaves before they enter the storm drain system and dispose of them in your green cart; nutrients can leach from yard waste and contaminate our streams.
  • Keeping fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides off concrete and paved areas to prevent water washing the chemicals into the storm drain.
  • Rinsing paint brushes in the sink rather than outside on the sidewalk or in the street.
  • Always use a drip pan when changing the oil in your vehicle.
  • Picking up after your pets to avoid wastes from being washed into the storm drain.
The use of storm sewers as garbage disposals ruins the aesthetic enjoyment of our waterways and degrades wildlife habitats. Small amounts of toxic chemicals (antifreeze, motor oil, pesticides, and household cleaners) may weaken aquatic life, especially fish, and make them more susceptible to diseases.

Did you know that it has been estimated that one pint of oil can cause a slick about the size of two football fields on the surface of calm water? It also contaminates the water, making it unfit for activities such as swimming, fishing, and other common recreational usage. Our water provides a vital biological habitat, and serves as a nursery for developing eggs and larvae of fish and other aquatic organisms.

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Storm Drain Stenciling

Why Stencil Storm Drains?

Storm water runoff is said to account for up to 80% of the pollution in some of our streams. Each year people pour hazardous chemicals, pesticides, paints, detergents, paint chemicals, antifreeze and used motor oil down storm drains. Rainwater washes along neighborhood gutters into storm drains, flowing directly into the San Joaquin River.

Part of the problem is the common misconception people have that storm water is treated for pollutants the way household sewage is treated. Storm water does not go to a treatment plant. Instead, it carries trash that is dumped onto streets, gutters or storm drains directly into our waters. The use of storm sewers as garbage disposals ruins the aesthetic enjoyment of our waterways and degrades wildlife habitats. Small amounts of toxic chemicals- antifreeze, motor oil pesticides, household cleaners - may weaken aquatic life, especially fish, and make them more susceptible to diseases. Did you know that it has been estimated that one pint of oil can cause a slick about the size of two football fields on the surface of calm water! The surface of the water is a vital biological habitat, and serves as a nursery for developing eggs and larvae of fish and other aquatic organisms. It also contaminates the water, making it unfit for activities such as swimming, fishing, and other common recreational usage.

By participating in the City of Turlock's Storm Drain Stenciling Project you are helping to send a message about a relatively unknown pollution problem and, at the same time, suggesting appropriate actions that can be taken to combat the problem. We thank you for your participation with this worthwhile project to convey the importance of pollution prevention to the Turlock community.



City of Turlock Storm Drain Stenciling Event

The City of Turlock coordinates an volunteer-based, community storm drain stenciling project. The purpose of the program is to raise awareness of a relatively unknown pollution problem, storm water runoff. The project involves volunteers who spend the day stenciling the message, "The Solution = No Pollution" on drains located throughout the City of Turlock to help educate residents and suggest ideas on how to help prevent storm water run-off. The program is offered to individual groups/organizations on an ongoing basis and community service hours are available for participating in the project.

For more information or concerns about storm drain pollution, please contact:

Municipal Services
156 S. Broadway, Ste 270
Turlock, CA 95380
(209) 668-5590
municipalservices@turlock.ca.us
Monday - Friday, 8AM - 5PM

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