What is Stormwater Runoff Pollution?



Stormwater runoff pollution is often called non-point source pollution.  It is basically rain water that becomes polluted once earthbound, and the pollution occurs from many sources.  Sources of stormwater pollution are driveways, streets, parking lots, construction sites, agricultural fields, lawns, pet wastes, failing sewer systems, leaking septic tanks, and illicit discharges such as dumping waste motor oil.  Pollutants of concern include but are not limited to oils, grease, sediment, fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, bacteria, debris and litter, etc. Stormwater runoff can wash these pollutants through the stormdrain system and into local streams and drainage basins.  Please remember, stormwater runoff does not flow to a treatment plant; it flows directly into our streams and lakes.  Stormwater runoff from the City of Ocean Springs ultimately reaches the waters you in which you fish, swim and recreate so it is imperative to implement best management practices to better manage stormwater runoff.


What has the City of Ocean Springs Done to Address this Issue?


The City of Ocean Springs was one of thirty-one designated cities and counties in Mississippi required by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop a stormwater runoff management program.  In order to better address water quality and reduce non-point source pollution to local waters the City of Ocean Springs developed a stormwater runoff management program that is comprised of the following six measures: (1) public education and outreach, (2) public involvement/participation, (3) illicit discharge detection and elimination, (4) construction site runoff control, (5) post-construction runoff control, and (6) pollution prevention and good housekeeping for City facilities.


What Can You Do?


The following is a list of tips that the general public may utilize to minimize stormwater pollution:


§         Don’t dump anything down storm drains.

§         Dispose of litter properly.

§         Recycle.

§         Choose non-toxic products.

§         Conserve water.

§         Keep storm drains clear of leaves, debris, trash, sediment, and other litter.

§         Make sure septic system is operating properly.

§         Minimize the use of fertilizers and pesticides.

§         Practice clean and responsible boating.

§         Wash vehicles at a car wash or where water flows into the grass.



The following links provide sources of additional information related to water quality and stormwater management for preventing stormwater pollution:



§         Homeowners


www.epa.gov/owow/nps/whatis            Contains fact sheets, articles, and resources for general public and homeowners explaining what NPS pollution is and what individuals can do to prevent and reduce it. Topics include household chemicals, septic systems, and impervious surfaces.


http://msucares.com/pubs/infosheets/is1419.htm            Correct Use of Your Septic Tank:

Contains an explanation of how a septic system works, tips for proper operation and maintenance, and the risks associated with a failing system.


http://msucares.com/pubs/infosheets/is1436.htm            Household Cleaning Products:

Contains guidance on choosing the appropriate cleaner for a particular job.  Provides explanation of the chemicals contained in common household cleaners and the dangers associated with each.  Encourages use of less harmful cleaning chemicals with tips on making and using less harmful alternatives.



Non Point Source Education Page:

Contains links to a variety of public education, outreach, and involvement programs that are available through MDEQ including programs for teachers, students, volunteer groups, homeowners, volunteer groups, and stormwater management officials.



§         Educators


www.epa.gov/owow/nps/kids               Non Point Source Kids Page:

Contains games, puzzles, interactive activities, educators' materials, and links to additional information.



Contains links to educational materials including classroom lesson plans, classroom activities, publications, and a variety of additional information for educators, including links to other websites. 



Contains links to information related to a variety of public education, outreach, and involvement programs that are available through MDEQ including programs for teachers, students, volunteer groups, homeowners, volunteer groups, and stormwater management officials. 



The Department of Marine Resources website has a wealth of information for the general public, children, teachers, boaters, and marinas, etc.  Information includes pollution prevention and marinas, non-point source pollution, stormwater runoff management and best management practices provided via the Mississippi Gulf Coast Stormwater Management Toolbox, stormwater management tools for schools, Coastal Cleanups, and workshop information for teachers.



§         Construction Industry



MDEQ Stormwater Permits:

Contains materials including stormwater permit applications, notice of intent forms, and guidance manuals for completing the applications and developing a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan. 



Urban Stormwater and Construction:

Contains a narrative description of urban stormwater impacts including construction impacts.  Provides links to stormwater permit information and BMP design manuals for construction. 



Non Point Source Pollution Literature and Publications:

Contains links to MDEQ sponsored literature and publications on non-point source pollution targeted to the general public, construction industry, and stormwater manager.



§         Regulations


www.epa.gov/owow/nps                      EPA’s Non Point Source Pollution Page:

Provides links to information and resources in a number of categories including publications and information resources, funding opportunities, training and meetings, and applicable regulations.



Contains fact sheets and guidance material related to the regulation of stormwater including information concerning Phase II Stormwater regulations.


http://www.epa.gov/owm/sw/phase2/final.htm  A copy of the EPA regulation is available at this site

The following list is a collection of website links containing information on stormwater and general water quality.  Some are specifically targeted at children and educators, and others are intended for a more general audience.  A brief description of the types of information available at the website is included where possible.  Please look through these and select those that will reach the target audience and address the local concerns that you intend to address in your stormwater management program.