It is also important that things founds in nature, trees and shrubs for example, are maintained and protected as they play a part in helping the water body function cleanly, Levitsky related.
“Riparian forest buffers are very critical,” Levitsky said, explaining that those are where trees or rocks along water edges stop and collect sediment before it reaches the water.
Maintaining forests around water bodies helps in several ways, he said. Leaves that fall from the trees into the streams feed the aquatic insects which later feed the fish. At the same time, trees absorb sediment from the ground that might harm the stream. “Keeping forested buffers is the cheapest and easier long-term management for streams,” he added.
Another simple way the township can keep pollutants and sediments from stormwater systems is by sweeping the streets to reduce the amount of dirt that will flow into the drains, Levitsky said.
Fairview has been developing six control measures with Borton-Lawson, explained Brain Palmiter, the firm’s civil designer. The state outlined the six management practices to aid municipalities in following the regulations, so that stormwater drains can be kept as clean as possible.
The first two control measures are public education and involvement. This public meeting, as well as its publication in the newspaper and the distribution of pamphlets is a way Fairview is achieving those measures, Palmiter said.
“It’s about informing your public about the water system and putting your education to good use,” he stated. He further recommended the township have a task force to help supervisors meet the regulations.
The next control measure is illicit discharge detection and elimination. This deals with the monitoring of stormwater outfalls and the recognition of hot spots, such as garages that may leak oil into storm drains, Palmiter explained. Part of this measure is to enact a stormwater-management ordinance, which Fairview Township has already done.
The fourth and fifth control practices are for construction and post-construction. This involves making sure stormwater runoff is addressed at active construction sites and that developers and property owners address soil disturbance after projects are completed.
The final control practice is pollution prevention. Levitsky explained that these include the prevention of dumping chemicals in sewers, the recycling of items such as used oil cans, and the proper storage of such chemicals. “Never dispose of fluids in storm sewers,” he stressed.
Other pollution prevention measures include maintaining the riparian buffers, minimizing the use of fertilizers, and notifying the township if discolored or odorous water is seen flowing into the sewer drains, Levitsky remarked. Palmiter added that the development and implementation of a township employee training program would also be useful.
David Yefko, senior civil designer with Borton-Lawson, praised Fairview Township for being proactive in following the state regulations. Some municipalities are taking a “wait and see attitude,” he said, and not enacting the regulations until “they are caught.” This can result in costly fines and more difficultly later in enacting the pollution-prevention measures.
In the last two years, Yefko has helped Fairview develop a sewer drain map, as well as the production of a required annual report to the state. He’s guiding the township’s department of public works in doing most of the data collection itself, as well as work which includes marking stormwater basins and enacting the pollution controls.
Yefko stressed the importance of community involvement. “Everyone’s runoff eventually gets to one of those outfalls –from your driveway, your roof…” Yefko said. “It’s important for every property owner and business owner to do everything you can.”
To those thinking their one property doesn’t have much of an impact on the water supply, Yekfo gave a metaphor of one ant struggling to move a piece of cake. While the single ant can’t do it alone, a group of ants can have a significant impact, he said.
Yefko concluded by inviting any resident with questions or feedback to email the Fairview Township secretary and she will forward the information to him, which may be included in the annual report to the state.