Stormwater: We all live downstream

Date: March 9, 2017

The hydrologic cycle is the path taken by precipitation as it forms in the sky and falls to the earth as raindrops or snowflakes. The rain or snow melt becomes surface runoff to lakes, ponds and streams as well as groundwater infiltration.  This stormwater eventually returns to the atmosphere by evaporation or transpiration to complete the cycle.

Ferguson Township is obligated to protect stormwater runoff from pollution under its Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Permit.  The program is mandated by the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). 

There are several ways that Ferguson Township residents can limit stormwater pollution. Your assistance helps Ferguson Township comply with its permit and, more importantly, keeps the hydrologic cycle free of pollution impacts.

Storm events and corresponding runoff can easily flush products we use into the Township’s storm sewers and collection facilities. Used cleaning agents, oil, antifreeze, fertilizer and pesticides are examples of products we use to our benefit, but they can create pollution when not properly handled. Substances such as litter, animal waste, and fine sediment from soil erosion may also be easily flushed into the storm sewer system during a heavy rain. When these materials enter the storm sewer system they are mobilized by the storm runoff and will eventually flow into streams or the groundwater. 

Steps you can take to minimize the potential for pollution:

  • Collect used engine fluids and recycle.
  • Never dump used cleaning and household products or engine fluids into a storm drain or a drain that flows to a basement sump pump.
  • Never dump used cleaning and household products or engine fluids on the ground surface.
  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions for disposal of cleaning and household products.
  • Use garden and lawn care products like fertilizers and pesticides in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.  Note that the impact of a large dose may be lowered by a significant storm runoff event that occurs after the application.
  • Clean up pet waste and dispose of it so as not to introduce it into the storm sewer collection system.
  • Avoid long-term exposure of bare soil when completing projects that require earth disturbance.  Establish a vegetative cover by seeding as soon as a project is complete.

Learn more about stormwater management