The City of Heath is taking a pro-active approach to reduce water pollution sources and has implemented a Storm Water Management Plan (SWMP) in compliance with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).
The goal of the Heath’s SWMP is to maintain natural and manmade drainage ways in free-flowing condition, to reduce the risk of localized storm water flooding, to reduce storm water pollution as required by federal law, to manage floodplain development, and to manage the municipal drainage utility system.
Maintaining water quality and proper drainage is very important and beneficial to all residents for many reasons:
- Property value can erode with an increase in water pollution or flooding.
- Water pollution is a deterrent for business growth.
- Polluted water is unsafe for many recreational activities including fishing, swimming and boating.
- Our drinking water is taken from surface water resources.
You can do your part to ensure a safe and clean water supply by taking a pro-active approach to reducing pollution in your own home and business (607kb pdf document).
What is storm Water runoff?
Storm water runoff occurs when precipitation from rain or snowmelt flows over the ground.
Impervious surfaces like driveways, sidewalks, and streets prevent storm water from naturally soaking into the ground.
Why is storm Water runoff a problem?
Storm water can pick up debris, chemicals, dirt, and other pollutants and flow into a storm sewer system or directly to a lake, stream, river, wetland, or coastal water. Anything that enters a storm sewer system is discharged untreated into the water bodies we use for swimming, fishing, and providing drinking water.
What are the effects of pollution?
Polluted storm water runoff can have many adverse effects on plants, fish, animals, and people.
Sediment can cloud the water and make it difficult or impossible for aquatic plants to grow. Sediment also can destroy aquatic habitats. Excess nutrients can cause algae blooms. When algae die, they sink to the bottom and decompose in a process that removes oxygen from the water. Fish and other aquatic organisms can’t exist in water with low dissolved oxygen levels.
Bacteria and other pathogens can wash into swimming areas and create health hazards, often making beach closures necessary.
Debris—plastic bags, six-pack rings, bottles, and cigarette butts—washed into water bodies can choke, suffocate, or disable aquatic life like ducks, fish, turtles, and birds.
Household hazardous wastes like insecticides, pesticides, paint, solvents, used motor oil, and other auto fluids can poison aquatic life.
Land animals and people can become sick or die from eating diseased fish and shellfish or ingesting polluted water.
Polluted storm water often affects drinking water sources. This, in turn, can affect human health and increase drinking water treatment costs.
Ways You Can Help Prevent Storm Water Pollution
- Remember to turn off your sprinklers when it rains to avoid water runoff; during winter runoff can freeze causing slippery conditions.
- Bag your pet’s waste–don’t just leave it there. Leaving pet waste on the ground increases public health risks by allowing harmful bacteria and nutrients to wash into the storm drain and eventually into local water bodies.
- Don’t apply pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides before it rains. Contrary to popular belief, the rain won’t help to soak these chemicals into the ground; it will only help create polluted runoff into our local creeks.
- Select native and adapted plants and grasses that are drought and pest resistant. Native plants require less water, fertilizer, and pesticides. Learn more about native and adapted plants at www.txsmartscape.com
- Reduce the amount of paved area and increase the amount of vegetated area in your yard.
- If you change your car’s oil, don’t dump it on the ground or in the storm drain; dispose of it properly at an oil recycling center.
- Check your car, boat, or motorcycle for leaks. Clean up spilled fluids with an absorbent material, don’t rinse the spills into the storm drain.
- Don’t get rid of grass clippings and other yard waste by dumping it or sweeping it into the storm drain; this will cause depleted oxygen for aquatic life. Instead, compost your yard waste.
- When washing your car at home, wash with only water or use biodegradable soap and wash it on a lawn or other unpaved surface; better yet take your car to a professional car wash.
- Don’t get rid of old or unused paint by throwing it down the storm drain; dispose of paint and other household hazardous waste at recycling facilities.
- Don’t pump your pool water into the storm drain–pool chemicals can be hazardous to our creek habitats.
- Whenever possible, drain your pool into the sanitary sewer system where it can be treated.
- Don’t mess with Texas! Throw litter away in a garbage can, not out your window. Recycle what you can!
Provided by the Regional Storm Water Management Program and its Public Education Task Force.
- Texas SmartScape
- American Water Works Association
- U.S. EPA National Pollutant Discharge Elimination Program
- NCTCOG Regional Storm Water Management Program
- Stormwater USA
- National Resources Defense Council
- Texas Commission on Environment Quality
(Disclaimer: The links listed above lead to resources not under the control of the City of Heath. The presences of these links should not be considered an endorsement of the represented sites by the City of Heath. The City of Heath is not responsible for the content of any external links contained on this site.)