Jun 16, 2005

Homeowners create problems by sweeping waste into streets

Recent rains in Fayetteville, N. C., have city officials looking at storm drains, according to Up & Coming Weekly. One rainstorm dumped nearly two inches of water in less than an hour, causing storm drains to overflow into local waterways.
This growing community is developing with more rooftops, parking lots and paved streets that increase stormwater problems. These hard surfaces do not absorb rain, so it pours into ditches, culverts, catch basins and storm drains, and eventually into ponds, streams and rivers.
There is only so much water the storm drains can take, especially during heavy rains. Fayetteville city workers clean catch basins as part of their regular street sweeping. They clean the grates and the drainpipes, spending about $300,000 on vacuuming drainpipes last year. Even with regular cleaning, storm drains can become clogged with natural debris that falls from trees. Homeowners worsen the problem by blowing yard waste and dirt into the streets. This debris accumulates until the next rainfall washes it onto the storm drain grates. The waste that passes through the grates flows into local waterways, and the waste that will not pass through washes into the streets and yards in the area.
City workers are not responsible for cleaning storm drains on state roads or those on private property. They will alert the North Carolina Department of Transportation if they spot a clogged drain, but property owners are responsible for the drains on private property.
The city's Storm Water Management Division works to reduce stormwater pollutants in local waterways by fixing minor drainage problems and clearing creeks of debris. The group also operates a stormwater hotline for residents to report stormwater issues, 24 hours a day.