The federal Clean Water Act’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System regulations govern storm water discharges from small cities/municipalities (such as Paso Robles) that operate storm drain systems.
The State Water Resources Control Board and the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board are responsible for enforcing stormwater regulations for the City of Paso Robles.
What is stormwater and why is it important?
Stormwater refers to the water that originates from rainfall or melting snow and flows over surfaces like streets, sidewalks, and rooftops. Instead of being absorbed into the ground, it collects and runs off into nearby drains, rivers, or other water bodies. Stormwater can carry various pollutants and contaminants from the surfaces it flows over, which can negatively impact the environment if not managed properly. Proper stormwater management aims to control and treat this runoff to protect water quality and prevent flooding.
The City of Paso Robles Stormwater Division follows the federal Clean Water Act regulations to address rainwater/stormwater runoff. The main aim of the Stormwater program is to reduce the amount of urban runoff (rainwater) entering the storm drain systems, as it can carry harmful bacteria and pollutants into our local waterways (creeks, drainages, the Salinas River, and eventually the Pacific Ocean.)
The Stormwater Division carries out various activities, such as:
- Educating the public about water quality
- Keeping an eye on illegal discharges into the storm drain system and local waterways
- Testing water quality at storm drain outlets
- Following best practices for development and municipal operations
- Taking care of local waterbodies by managing stormwater runoff into creeks, drainages, the Salinas River, and eventually the Pacific Ocean.
To achieve this goal, there are six Minimum Control Measures that must be followed to protect local water quality and make sure the program meets federal requirements:
- Education and Outreach Program
- Public Involvement and Participation Program
- Illicit Discharge and Elimination (IDDE)
- Construction Site Stormwater Runoff Control Program
- Pollution Prevention and Good Housekeeping – Municipal Operations
- Post-Construction Stormwater Management Program
The State Water Resources Control Board and the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board enforce the Clean Water Act regulations in Paso Robles.
As a Paso Robles resident, how can I help?
City residents can play a crucial role in supporting the Stormwater division and helping to manage stormwater effectively. Here are some ways they can contribute:
- Properly dispose of trash and waste: Avoid littering and dispose of trash, pet waste, and other pollutants in designated trash bins or recycling centers. This prevents these items from being washed into storm drains, which can lead to pollution in water bodies.
- Use environmentally-friendly products: Choose biodegradable and non-toxic household products to reduce the amount of harmful chemicals that can end up in stormwater runoff.
- Maintain vehicles and equipment: Regularly inspect and maintain vehicles to prevent oil leaks and other fluid spills that could contaminate stormwater.
- Be mindful of yard care: When using fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides, follow the instructions carefully to avoid excess runoff. Consider using natural alternatives or limiting their use, and avoid application before rain is expected.
- Install rain barrels or rain gardens: Residents can capture and reuse rainwater by setting up rain barrels or creating rain gardens, which help reduce the volume of stormwater runoff and promote groundwater recharge.
- Minimize impervious surfaces: Limit the amount of concrete or asphalt on your property. Instead, use permeable materials like gravel or pavers that allow water to soak into the ground.
- Participate in community cleanups: Get involved in local clean-up events organized by the Stormwater division or community groups to help remove litter and debris from streets and waterways.
- Report stormwater issues: If you notice problems with storm drains, catch basins, or any other stormwater infrastructure, report them to the Stormwater division or the appropriate city authorities.
- Educate others: Share information with friends, family, and neighbors about the importance of stormwater management and how they can contribute to the effort.
- Support stormwater projects: Stay informed about stormwater improvement projects in your area and support them through community involvement or advocacy.
By adopting these practices, city residents can be active participants in protecting local water quality, reducing flooding risks, and supporting the efforts of the Stormwater division in creating a healthier and more sustainable environment for everyone.
Questions about Stormwater can be directed Kim Porter at email@example.com or 805.227.7242.