Stormwater runoff occurs when precipitation from rain or snowmelt flows over the ground. Impervious surfaces like driveways, sidewalks and streets prevent stormwater from naturally soaking into the ground.

Stormwater can pick up debris, chemicals, dirt, and other pollutants and flow into a storm sewer system or directly into places like Newman Lake, Blacks Run or Siberts Creek. Anything that enters a storm sewer system is discharged untreated into the waterbodies that flow through our community.

Stormwater management is the process of controlling stormwater runoff for the purpose of reducing erosion, water quality degradation and flooding. Stormwater management control measures are often referred to as Best Management Practices (BMP). BMP's can either be structural or nonstructural measures taken to mitigate changes to both the quantity and quality of runoff.

Stormwater pollution can be controlled if everyone plays a part in managing stormwater runoff. The most effective way to reduce stormwater pollution is to prevent pollutants from entering the system in the first place.

A few things you can do to help prevent stormwater pollution:

  • Never dump anything down storm drains
  • Take your car to the car wash instead of washing it in a driveway or parking lot
  • Promptly repair vehicle and equipment leaks
  • Clean up pet waste and dispose it in the garbage or flush it down the toilet
  • Properly dispose household waste
  • Utilize campus recycling programs

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has mandated that certain communities create a Stormwater Management Plan under the Phase II National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program. The program is intended to improve water quality by reducing the discharge of pollutants from storm water runoff into local storm drains, rivers, ponds, streams and other receiving waterbodies.

James Madison University is one of the communities affected by this Phase II rule in Virginia. In order to comply with the Permit Program, a plan has been developed which is comprised of the following six elements:

1. Public Education and Outreach
2. Public Participation/Involvement
3. Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination
4. Construction Site Runoff Control
5. Post Construction Runoff Control
6. Municipal Pollution Prevention/Good Housekeeping

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