What is Stormwater?
Rain, sleet, and snow melt flows from our roofs, lawns, and driveways into the street or into drainage ditches, where it enters the storm sewers through drains and catch basins. This water flows untreated through an outfall and directly into a stream or lake, carrying pollutants with it.
Lake County General Health District’s Role in Stormwater
The Lake County General Health District partners with the Lake County Stormwater Management Department (LCSMD) to help protect our rivers and lakes from pollutants that can enter the stormwater. The Health District performs outfall screenings where stormwater discharges to a waterway and investigates illicit discharges to stormwater systems.
During an outfall screening, a water sample is collected at an outfall and analyzed for a variety of components such as nitrates, phosphates, dissolved oxygen, and salinity. More information on outfalls and screening can be found at Stormwater Outfall Screening. Authority comes from Memoranda of Understanding with various agencies, Rules and Regulations, and local illicit discharge ordinances. Much of the structure for the rules and regulations comes from the Clean Water Act (CWA). For a summary of the CWA, and further information on laws, regulations, and enforcement, visit U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – Summary of CWA, Laws & Regulations. For local concerns in Lake County, discharges of pollutants should be reported to the Health District. Please continue to the tabs below to find more information on illicit discharges and details about the stormwater program.
How to report:
To report an illicit discharge call (440) 350-2543. For questions about the stormwater program, please contact:
Public Health Sanitarian
Phone: (440) 350-5833
What is the Stormwater Program?
Many bodies of water in the United States were not meeting water quality standards after the implementation of the Clean Water Act. The source of some of the remaining pollution was stormwater runoff. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) implemented a two-phased stormwater program to improve water quality. Phase I implemented the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), which pertains to medium and large municipal separate storm sewers (MS4s). This phase issues NPDES permits to facilities and industries, allowing them to discharge wastewater up to a certain concentration of particular pollutants. The Phase II program covers MS4s in smaller, more urbanized areas, and helps eliminate and reduce pollutants in stormwater entering the storm sewers in your neighborhood. The Lake County Stormwater Management Department (LCSMD) ensures compliance with the Phase II program for its member communities. Funded by a stormwater user fee, the program and its partner agencies, including the Lake County General Health District, ensure compliance with all aspects of the stormwater permit and improve water quality.
Stormwater and the Community
Both the Health District and the Lake County Stormwater Management Department work to educate the community about stormwater and water pollution prevention by offering school presentations. They are also active at community events, such as the Lake County 4-H Fair. Publications and brochures can be found at local libraries and other public locations.
Visit www.lakecountyohio.gov/smd or call (440) 350-5900 to learn more information about stormwater systems and the Lake County Stormwater Management Department.
What is an Illicit Discharge?
An illicit discharge is anything other than stormwater flowing into the storm sewers in the street and directly to our rivers and lakes. Many illicit discharges originate from households in urban areas and are pollutants that have major harmful effects once they enter rivers, lakes, and streams. The pollutants contaminate drinking water and destroy wildlife habitat.
Illicit discharge pollutants include:
- grass clippings
- pet waste
- road salt
- car washing soap
- motor oil
- sewage from septic systems or leaking infrastructure
For more information on identifying and reporting an illicit discharge: Illicit Discharge Fact Sheet
Preventing Stormwater Pollution
Only you can prevent these pollutants from entering stormwater in your neighborhood. Be environmentally conscious, clean up your trash, pick up after your pets, only fertilize your lawn when necessary, and properly dispose of auto fluids. Visit the links below to learn more about how to prevent stormwater pollution.
Keeping Streams Clean – Do Not Dump Near Waterways
Fertilizing – Nutrients for Lawns
Sewage – Keeping it Where it Belongs
Pools – Where to Drain Pools & Hot Tubs
Fall Leaves – Mulch, Compost, and Disposal
The Restaurant Industry – Keeping Stormwater Clean
Iron, Sulfur, and Manganese Bacteria in Water – Is it harmful?
10 Things You Can Do to Prevent Stormwater Pollution
Northeast Ohio Storm Water Training Council
Chagrin River Watershed Partners
Friends of Arcola Creek
Lake County OSU Extension Office
Lake County Soil and Water Conservation District
Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA) – Water Quality
Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – Division of Surface Water
Ohio Watershed Network
U\.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – Water Topics
Water Management Association of Ohio