Did you know that we get an average of 10-11 inches of rain per year in Madera? Have you ever wondered where all that water goes? Stormwater absorbs into the ground in natural areas where urban development hasn’t occurred. However, where urban development has occurred, there are more impervious surfaces, like rooftops, paved roads, driveways, and parking lots, limiting the stormwater’s ability to be absorbed into the ground. As a result, stormwater flows across rooftops, over the ground, through gutters, into storm drains, and ultimately into the local waterways.
As the stormwater flows over the urban landscape, it picks up and carries whatever it comes into contact with along the way. This may include animal waste, automobile fluids, pesticides, litter, and other pollutants, which may harm local waterways. In addition, the waterways can also be impaired if materials like soapy water, oil, or paint are disposed of incorrectly or dumped directly into the curb and gutter or storm drain.
The storm drainage system within the City of Madera consists of curbs, gutters, and storm drains. The storm drainage system is separate from the sewer system, which means that the water that flows into the storm drain system does NOT get treated by the City’s Wastewater Treatment Plant.
To protect our waterways, the City is regulated by and complies with the Phase II Small MS4 General Permit that was adopted by the State Water Resources Control Board effective July 1, 2013. The Permit requires the City to have a stormwater program that controls the discharge of pollutants into the City’s storm drainage system and our waterways. The City’s Stormwater Program is multi-faceted and includes the following components:
The Watershed area surrounding the City of Madera is transected by the Fresno River and is a major tributary of the San Joaquin River system. The Fresno River starts in the Oakhurst area, winding its way through the foothills, through Hensley Lake and on to the City of Madera. The river flows southwest past Madera then west to the Eastside Bypass and finally to the San Joaquin River, north of Highway 152.
A watershed is an area of land where all water running off the land drains to a particular location. This location can be a stream, river, lake, wetland or ocean. No matter where you live, work, or play, you are in a watershed. A watershed can be millions of square miles or just a few acres.
Watershed Management is a holistic approach to managing the combined impacts to the water resources and habitats within a watershed. Examples of these impacts are land use practices, erosion, wastewater treatment systems, stormwater collection systems, and pesticide usage. There are four major features unique to watershed management. These features are:
Did you know that we get an average of 10-11 inches of rain per year in Madera? Have you ever wondered where all that water goes? In natural areas where urban development hasn’t occurred, stormwater absorbs into the ground. However, where urban development has occurred, there are more impervious surfaces, like rooftops, paved roads, and driveways, which limit the ability of the stormwater to be absorbed into the ground. As a result, stormwater flows across rooftops, over the ground, through gutters, into storm drains, and ultimately into the local waterways.
As the stormwater flows over the urban landscape, it picks up and carries whatever it comes into contact with along the way. This may include animal waste, automobile fluids, pesticides, litter, and other pollutants, which may harm local waterways. Here are some activities that can occur in and around your home that may impact stormwater, and how YOU can help prevent stormwater pollution. Remember, clean water starts with you!
We know that pest issues “bug” most residents. However, depending on how you try to resolve the issue, you may unknowingly cause harm to our local creeks and rivers.
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a great solution to your pest problems. The University of California Statewide IPM Program defines IPM as “a process you can use to solve pest problems while minimizing risks to people and the environment.” Integrated Pest Management offers natural and effective alternatives to conventional methods, which rely primarily on the application of pesticides. Pesticides not only cause harm to our environment and our health, they also only treat the symptom rather than the cause of pest problems.
Looking at a pest problem through this lens means that you’ll:
IPM focuses on a variety of approaches that, when taken together, deal more effectively with pest problems at their source. The IPM approaches include:
These gardening best practices can help protect our creeks and rivers by preventing an excess of harmful chemical entering our waterways. Learn more about pesticides and water quality here.
The Industrial General Permit (IGP) is an NPDES permit issued by the State Water Resources Control Board that regulates discharges associated with nine broad categories of industrial activities, including manufacturing plants, mining operations, disposal sites, recycling centers and transportation facilities. The permit requires the development of a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) that identifies sources of pollution and describes the measures the facility has taken to reduce stormwater pollution.
If you own, manage or help operate an industrial or commercial business, you can help reduce stormwater pollution. From environmentally friendly cleaning and maintenance activities, to recycling hazardous waste materials, businesses can do a lot to prevent stormwater pollution. These industrial and commercial best practices can help protect our creeks and rivers.
The California Stormwater Quality Association (CASQA) produced the Industrial & Commercial BMP Online Handbook to provide general guidance for selecting and implementing BMPs to reduce pollutants in runoff from industrial and commercial facilities. This document is available for a fee.
Dirt Can Hurt
Larger projects, that disturb an acre or more of land, need to obtain coverage under the State Water Board’s General Permit for Stormwater Discharges associated with construction activities. This permit is commonly called the Construction General Permit or CGP.
If your project will disturb an acre or more of land you will need to obtain coverage under the CGP and develop a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) that meets the requirements of the CGP.
Briefly, a SWPPP is a detailed site-specific plan to protect stormwater quality leaving the site. SWPPPs must be prepared by qualified individuals and assess the pollutant potential of the project and sensitivity of the receiving waters. A SWPPP needs to include the detailed BMP implementation plan as well as a construction site monitoring program of inspections and runoff sampling.
More details on the CGP requirements and SWPPPs can be found on the State Water Board’s Construction Stormwater Program page.
If your project is subject to the CGP, you will need to submit your SWPPP to the City with your permit application or application for development approvals. Before you start construction you will need to provide proof that you have obtained CGP coverage by providing your Waste Discharger Identification Number
Remember that storm drains and runoff flow directly to our creeks and rivers untreated. Taking minimum control measures for construction projects as noted below helps protect our waterways and their aquatic life.
Select an effective combination of control measures from each category, Erosion Control, Sediment Control, and Good Housekeeping. Control measures shall be continually implemented and maintained throughout the project until activities are complete, disturbed areas are stabilized with permanent erosion controls, and the local agency has signed off on permits that may have been required for the project. Inspect and maintain the control measures before and after rain events, and as required by the local agency or state permit.
There are 16 activities that can be categorized in to three areas; Erosion Controls, Sediment Controls, and Good Housekeeping.
1 – Scheduling: Scheduling allows you to plan activities when there is a lower chance of rain and to plan for BMP installation as the activities progress.
2 – Preserve Vegetation & Creek Set Backs: Existing vegetation is the best form of erosion control, doesn’t cost money to install, and requires little maintenance. Preserving vegetation between the site and creeks is especially important and required in some situations.
3 – Soil Cover: Soil cover products, like hydromulch, replace the erosion control benefit of vegetation removed during construction. These products can be quickly deployed over large (or small) disturbed areas for temporary protection and can be incorporated into final stabilization.
4 – Soil Preparation/Roughening: This practice prepares the soil for growing vegetation. Mechanically roughening the soil slows the water down and provides pockets that promote germination. Soil prep also includes testing the soil to identify if any amendments are needed to promote growth.
5 – Erosion Control Blankets: Soil cover products, like erosion control blankets, replace the erosion control benefit of vegetation removed during construction. These products are used for temporary projection and can be incorporated into final stabilization.
6 – Revegetation: Revegetation re-establishes vegetation on the areas of the site disturbed by construction to prevent erosion. It is part of the final stabilization of the site but may also be needed for temporary protection during the project.
7 – Tracking Controls: Tracking controls are a suite of practices that limit the amount of dirt and mud tracked from a project into the street. Keeping dirt out of the street helps to keep it out of the storm drains and reduces complaints from neighbors.
8 – Fiber Rolls: Fiber rolls intercept runoff, reduce its velocity, and trap sediment behind the roll. They also reduce the length of a slope, which reduces sheet and rill erosion.
9 – Silt Fence: Silt fences detain (pond) water promoting sedimentation behind the fence.
10 – Drain Inlet Protection: Drain Inlet Protection (DI) is used as a last line of defense. It temporarily ponds water at the drain inlet, allowing some sediment to settle out. Some forms of DI protection can filter sediment during low flow events.
11 – Concrete Washout: These practices prevent the discharge of high pH concrete wastewater into the ground or storm drains.
12 – Stockpile Management: These practices and procedures protect loose stockpiled materials from washing or blowing off the projects site.
13 – Hazardous Material Management: These practices prevent the discharge of hazardous materials by using proper storage of materials and wastes, and by minimizing the quantity of materials stored.
14 – Sanitary Waste Management: Proper management of sanitary waste facilities, e.g., portable toilets, prevents the discharge of wastewater to the ground and storm drains.
15 – Equipment and Vehicle Maintenance: These practices prevent discharges of vehicle fluids and wastes by limiting on-site maintenance and using practices a to contain and clean up small leaks and drips.
16 – Litter and Waste Management: These practices prevent the discharge of trash and wastes from the project site by using covered and contained trash cans and bins.
What is Stormwater Pollution?
What's the Problem?
How Does Stormwater Pollution Affect my Community?
How Can I Help?