Next time you are enjoying the river, keep an eye out for strange suds. Bright white, very clean bubbles are an indication of an illicit discharge. You may also see bubbles in large groupings, with a rainbow sheen, or smell a clean smell. Report these strange bubbles to your local stormwater manager to get a handle on where they are coming from and stop the pollution.
What would your life look like if the cleaning staff stopped showing up? These amazing people keep our work lives and living spaces neat, clean, sanitary, and smelling nice. They also do their part to keep our waterways clean by properly disposing of excess cleaning products. Mop water, soapy water, and the mysterious-cleaner-hiding-in-the-back-of-the-cabinet-from-decades-past do not belong in our storm drains. Visit https://www.cleancommunity.org/ for proper disposal information.
The individuals working on a construction site are a first line of defense for our rivers. Fixing leaking equipment, using silt fences and designated construction entrances, and cleaning up as you go can keep your worksite clean. A clean worksite helps keep dirt, chemicals, and trash out of our streets and storm sewers. View the EPA’s guide to federal requirements here: https://bit.ly/2Wsuz4U
Common household products (i.e.. batteries, cleaners, paints, medications, light bulbs) contain heavy metals and/or chemicals that are toxic to aquatic and human life. Don’t just throw them in the trashcan or pour them on the ground; dispose of them properly. Take them to our Household Hazardous Waste Facility or an appropriate disposal site. Click here to learn more: https://www.cleancommunity.org/
Illicit connections include floor drains. Do you have one in your building? Where does it go? Any floor drain connected to the storm drain needs to be plugged and removed. These drains were popular in the 1970’s and have been putting engine fluids and soapy washwater in our rivers and lakes for decades. These drains are long over-due to be fixed.
Anything that isn’t strictly composed of storm water is considered an illicit discharge and we are working to eliminate those occurrences. Now, that definition is pretty broad. Not only are we talking about obvious pollution like a neighbor pouring paint down the storm drain, but illicit discharges also include: chemicals dripping from the engines from our vehicles, excess fertilizers and pesticides from our lawncare routine, soap and detergents from washing our cars on our driveway, trash and debris blowing around after an event, and even juices dripping out of a dumpster. You can help keep these pollutants out of our waterways by: properly disposing of household hazardous wastes, remembering to wash your car on your lawn, and reporting any questionable actions or unnatural water flows. Find more here: http://bit.ly/34QR9sU
Stormwater is not treated before it flows into the North Platte River, so contaminants that enter the storm sewer system can also contaminate the river.
According to regulation, anything other than rain or snowmelt in the storm sewer is an illicit discharge. However, clean water discharges to the gutter – like pumped groundwater, air conditioning condensation, or irrigation water/lawn watering – are typically excused.
If you see or find evidence of substances other than rain or snowmelt in the gutter or near a storm drain please call the stormwater department 630-8011. If the spill is over 25 gallons or you know the substance is hazardous, please call 911.