Hainesport Township owns and maintains six (6) stormwater management basins, approximately 541 stormwater inlets and miles of storm pipe. Numerous other basins throughout the town along with their associated storm drain inlets and pipes are privately owned and maintained. These basins collect runoff from buildings, parking lots, roadways and other impervious and semi-pervious areas during rain storms. What happens to this runoff? Some of the runoff slowly seeps into the ground and recharges the groundwater table (aquifers) and some is evaporated, while a larger portion of it is metered out of the basins and conveyed to a nearby waterway, slowly making its way to the Delaware River. In some older areas of town, runoff is not collected in a basin but simply runs into a storm drain and is discharged directly to a nearby waterway. The drains you see along the curb lines of most roads are examples of a storm drain inlet.
When you consider this process, you realize that stormwater runoff has the potential to be a significant source of pollution. Runoff is routinely exposed to trash, oils, salts, silt, cigarette butts, and a myriad of other compounds as it flows over the ground and through pipes to its eventual destination, in our case, the Delaware River. It also picks up cans and plastic bottles discarded along our roadways (these are known as “floatables”). Since the resultant pollutant stream does not have a single source, it is referred to as “non-point source pollution”. The NJDEP realized this several years ago and instituted a comprehensive stormwater management permitting process, which was required to be implemented by every municipality in the State.
Since March 2004, Hainesport Township’s municipal separate storm sewer system has been operated under a Tier A Municipal Stormwater Permit issued by the NJDEP. The purpose of this program is to reduce, to the maximum extent practicable, the amount of non-point source pollution that is conveyed to our aquifers and surface waters by stormwater runoff. The multi-page permit has numerous requirements with respect to stormwater management, which are summarized as follows:
1. The Township was required to adopt a Municipal Stormwater Management Plan, which was incorporated into our Comprehensive Master Plan.
2. The Township was required to develop and implement a Stormwater Pollution and Prevention Plan (SPPP), which is on file in the Office of the Township Engineer.
3. The Township was required to adopt a Stormwater Management Ordinance, which can be found at Chapter 161 of the Township Cod. The link to the Code can be found here.
4. The Township was required to adopt several stormwater-related ordinances (i.e., pet waste, litter, improper disposal of waste, wildlife feeding, yard waste collection, regulation of dumpsters, inlet retrofitting for control of floatables). These ordinances can also be found in the Township Code.
5. The Township is required annually to provide local public education on stormwater issues. This also included a requirement to label all storm drains. You may have noticed circular markers like the one below, which state: “No Dumping – Drains to Waterway”, adhered to the top of the metal curb piece.
6. The Township was required to inspect and map all of its stormwater “outfalls”, where stormwater discharges to a water body and inspect them for “illegal” connections, such as sanitary sewer pipes, and scouring, which can work to transport sediment into our waterways.
7. The Township is required to sweep certain streets on a designated schedule, maintain all stormwater management basins and inspect and clean (if needed) its storm drain inlets.
8. The Township is required, in specific situations, to retrofit storm drains located in a roadway to provide for the control of floatables. You may have noticed new faceplates with smaller openings on many of the storm drain inlets along curb lines.
9. The Township is required to properly store salt and other de-icing materials.
10. Except in limited situations, the Township is not permitted to wash its vehicles in such a manner that the wash water is discharged over the ground or into a storm drain.
11. The Township is required to annually train certain employees on “best management practices” relative to stormwater management.
As is evident from the above items, the permit requirements are time consuming and not to be taken lightly. Therefore, it is important that we all embrace the idea that our waterways and aquifers are valuable resources, which cannot be replaced, and which must be protected to the maximum extent possible. As a resident and/or business owner in Hainesport Township, you can do your part simply by not littering or by picking up trash, not dumping any objects, liquids (other than clean water), pet waste or grass clippings into a storm drain, not over-fertilizing your lawn, and generally conducting your everyday activities with the understanding that rain water and water from snow melt are part of a natural cycle that eventually comes back to us in the form of the water which flows from our faucets, which we all greatly rely upon and use every day of our lives.
For additional information on this topic, please visit www.cleanwaternj.org.
Visit NJDEP's stormwater web site for stormwater management professionals and permittees. There you willl find links to technical information, guidance materials, forms, and applications.