What is stormwater?
Stormwater is rain or snow melt that runs off impervious surfaces such as streets, sidewalks, parking lots and roofs instead of being absorbed into the ground. As the water flows over theses surfaces it picks up pollutants including sediment, petroleum products, pesticides, fertilizers and bacteria before it enters a storm drain and is carried, untreated, to the nearest water body. The more impervious surface in a given area, the greater the amount of stormwater runoff and, therefore, the greater potential for pollution to local lakes, rivers and streams.
Why are stormwater drainage systems important?
- Stormwater infrastructure provides drainage that protects roads and the built environment from flooding and failure.
Why is the stormwater program important?
- Regular maintenance and repairs allow the stormwater drainage system to function properly.
- As we face storms of increasing frequency and intensity, drainage systems become even more important to protect infrastructure and prevent flooding which causes erosion and property damage.
- Municipalities are responsible for minimizing the pollution entering our stormwater systems which drain UNTREATED to the nearest water body.
What are common stormwater pollutants?
- Soil and sand cloud water and smother habitat.
- Chemicals including fertilizers, pesticides, oils, coal tar pavement sealers, etc. are toxic to wildlife and can reduce the oxygen in water.
- Bacteria, often coming from pet waste, create health hazards and can lead to beach closures.
- Salt, used to help keep paved surfaces safe in winter, cannot be removed from water and is toxic to freshwater wildlife.
- Debris such as cigarette butts and trash is unsightly, harmful to wildlife and often carries additional pollutants.
Westbrook's Stormwater Management
The Clean Water Act requires Westbrook, along with 29 other Maine communities, to comply with the Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Permit (PDF), a set of regulations to minimize harmful impacts of polluted stormwater runoff on local waters. The permit describes permit coverage and limitations, definitions, authorization and notice requirements, stormwater program management plan requirements, and standard conditions for municipalities within the State of Maine. Westbrook’s Stormwater Management Plan identifies specific areas of activity, called minimum control measures (MCMs), to comply with these regulations.
The Small MS4 general permit became effective July 1, 2013. The Stormwater permit language can be viewed on the Department of Environmental Protection website.
Report a Stormwater Complaint
Email Lynn Leavitt
Westbrook Public Services
371 Saco Street
Westbrook, ME 04092