Frequently Asked Questions

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1. What is the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Stormwater Program?

Polluted stormwater runoff is a leading cause of impairment to the nearly 40 percent of surveyed U.S. water bodies which do not meet water quality standards. Over land or via storm sewer systems, polluted runoff is discharged, often untreated, directly into local water bodies. When left uncontrolled, this water pollution can result in the destruction of fish, wildlife and aquatic life habitats; a loss in aesthetic value; and threats to public health due to contaminated food, drinking water supplies; and recreational waterways.

Mandated by Congress under the Clean Water Act, the NPDES stormwater Program is a comprehensive two-phased national program for addressing the non-agricultural sources of stormwater discharges which adversely affect the quality of our nation’s waters. The program uses the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting mechanism to require the implementation of controls designed to prevent harmful pollutants from being washed by stormwater runoff into local water bodies.

2. Are sewers and storm drains the same thing?

No, they are not the same thing. The two are totally separate systems from each other. A sanitary sewer system collects waste from your sinks, toilets, showers, and washing machines. The sewer system will then carry it to a treatment facility before being discharged.

Stormwater is collected from our streets and then flows into a separated system. This system goes untreated and flows into local waterways, carrying all collected pollution with it.

3. What can I do to prevent stormwater pollution?

• Don’t put anything in storm drains but rainwater.
• Avoid throwing litter into the street.
• Pickup after your pet.
• Recycle your motor oil.
• Bag, compost or recycle grass, tree limbs, leaves and other yard waste.
• Use yard waste as mulch, natural fertilizer or ground cover.
• Encourage local businesses to start a recycling program if they don’t already have one.
• Don’t use harsh, abrasive or toxic chemicals around the house.
• Recycle your grass, “Use a Mulching Mower”.
• Report illegal dumping.
• Buy just what you need to do the job.
• Be smart when you apply pesticides or fertilizers.

4. Can any products be safely poured down the storm drains?

NO! The only thing that should enter the storm drains is rainwater. Everything that goes down the drain will end up in our local rivers and lakes, UNTREATED.

5. How do I report illegal dumping or suspicious discharges?

Contact the Stormwater Program Manager at (308)389-0270 or report your concern to the Public Works Department.


View information on NPDES FAQ’s.