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Stormwater is water that occurs from a rain or snow event. The water that is not absorbed by the ground is called storm water runoff. This water that is not absorbed by the ground usually ends up flowing into a storm water drain and then into a large body of water such as a river, lake, creek, or ocean, or a retention pond. Because storm water runoff typically flows through driveways, parking lots, sidewalks, and roads, it is very important that we as citizens protect the storm water by maintaining our vehicles and yards, and properly disposing of any waste we may have as well. Often times litter, oil from oil leaks, sediment from eroded yards, and other waste end up in our rivers, creeks, and lakes affecting the water quality in a large way.
Water quality affects everything from wild life to the water you drink at home.
Soil erosion, oil leaks from vehicles, waste from plant factories, soap suds from home car washes, litter and other things are all washed into our storm sewer systems and ultimately our rivers, lakes, and streams.
When these things are washed into our rivers, turbidity occurs. Turbidity is caused by particles suspended or dissolved in water that scatter light making the water appear cloudy or murky. High turbidity not only reduces the aesthetic quality of the river but also increases the cost of water treatment. It can also be very harmful to fish and other aquatic life by reducing food supplies, preventing reproduction, reducing growth rate, and sometimes killing them.
There are many habits, the citizens of Anniston can practice to help protect and improve the Water Quality of the Creeks and tributaries in Anniston:
1. Wash your car on a lawn or other unpaved surface to minimize the amount of dirt and soap that may flow into the storm sewer system.
2. Regularly check your cars, boats, motorcycles and other machinery for leaks and spills and make repairs as soon as possible.
3. Clean up any oil or gas spills with an absorbent material like kitty litter or sand. Do not rinse spills. Always properly dispose of clean up material.
4. Recycle used oil and other automotive fluids at participating service stations.
5. Use pesticides and fertilizers sparingly and only when necessary. Always use the recommended amount. Avoid using prior to a rain event.
6. Select native plants and grasses that are drought and pest-resistant.
7. Sweep up yard debris instead of hosing down area. Yard debris can often times be composted or recycled.
8. Don’t over-water your lawn.
9. Keep dirt and mulch covered when working on a landscape project.
10. Vegetate any soiled spots in your yard to prevent erosion.
11. Locate nearest storm drain and protect them using wattles prior to beginning an outdoor project.
12. Sweep up and properly dispose of construction debris such as concrete and mortar.
13. When using hazardous substances like paints, solvents, and cleaners, clean up any spills immediately, dispose of properly, and store in a safe location.
14. Use nontoxic, biodegradable, recycled, and recyclable products whenever possible.
15. Clean paint brushes in sink and not outside.
16. Reduce amount of paved areas and increase vegetated areas in yard.
17. When walking your pet, pick up pet waste and dispose of properly.
An MS4 is a Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System. An MS4 is a system of conveyances used to collect and convey storm water and is owned by a public entity. Storm Sewer Systems carry water from roads, driveways, and parking lots to a local water body during a rain event.
The City of Anniston along with the Cities of Oxford, Jacksonville, and Calhoun County are collectively considered as an “urbanized area” and treated as one MS4. The urbanized area was designated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM). Because we are an urbanized area, we are required to obtain a permit that requires us to develop and maintain a Storm water Management Program. The Storm Water Management Plan is a living document and the city of Anniston invites all of its residents to comment of the plan to improve its Quality (contact our Engineering Department at 256-231-7750). This permit is called an MS4 permit and the cities of Anniston, Oxford, Jacksonville, and Calhoun County are all on the same permit.
As a citizen of Calhoun County, you have a part in the Anniston-Calhoun MS4 permit. Part of the MS4 Permit requires the City to participate in Educational Events. The City of Anniston is currently hoping to sponsor a Water Festival which will be held in December 2015 for fourth graders all over the county with the help of many high school students, and a storm drain marking project. These events give us an opportunity to teach the youth about water quality and the way we can impact our waterways! The city of Anniston also holds a city wide cleanup in the Spring to get citizens involved in the beautification of our city. The city also encourages its residents to dispose of used motor oil at our city garage.
An illicit discharge is defined in Anniston municipal code (Sec29 ½. 8) as any discharge to the municipal separate storm sewer system that is not composed entirely of storm water and not specifically exempted under. Please contact the engineering department if you suspect an illicit discharge connection to our storm sewer system at 256-231-7750.
Construction activities can often times be the cause of storm water pollution. Two of the most common sources of storm water pollution are erosion and sedimentation caused by failure to maintain adequate erosion and sediment controls at construction sites. Construction vehicles and heavy equipment can also track significant amounts of mud and sediment onto streets which can result in sedimentation in storm water.
Because construction activities can cause unnecessary water pollution, the City of Anniston requires certain projects to obtain a Land Disturbance Permit from the Engineering Department prior to beginning any construction activity.