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The Importance of Stormwater BMP Curb and Grate Protection in Protecting Our Environment

Over the past three decades, urban and stormwater runoff has been identified as a critical source of pollution in the United States. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 21% of contaminated lakes and 45% of tainted estuaries were caused by urban runoff and storm drain discharges. The Clean Water Act of 1972, through the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), requires point source discharges of pollutants into waters of the United States be regulated by a NPDES permit. These point sources include runoff from municipal separate storm systems, construction, and industrial sites.

           Stormwater pollution prevention and management is an important regulatory issue in the United States. Stormwater is runoff or precipitation that flows over land without being absorbed into the ground. This water picks up other materials along the way such as debris, chemicals, sediment, and other pollutants. Once it reaches a form of drainage or body of water, it will take all accumulated pollutants with it. The poor quality of this runoff is a result of two man-made changes: the conversion of soil and permeable surfaces into concrete, asphalt, buildings and other impervious surfaces, and the release of pollutants from nearby residential neighborhoods and industrial areas.

Stormwater management is the process or action of managing the amount and condition of stormwater. This includes structural and engineered control devices and systems. Stormwater BMP, or “Best Management Practices," is the practice of effective and practical means of preventing or reducing the amount of pollution generated by non-point sources. Non-point sources include sediment, nutrients, motor oil, and lawn care products that run off hard surfaces and yards and into storm drains. The presence of these pollutants affects the water quality in watersheds, increases flooding, damages wildlife habitats, changes water temperature, increases erosion and sedimentation and degrades stream channels.

Some BMPs that are used in facilities and properties to manage runoffs include stream buffers, native and non-native vegetation, wet detention basins, rip rap, overflows, and stormwater inlet protection. Storm inlet protection are measures taken to preserve inlets, or water passages that leads to a large body of water, to prevent sediment and debris from washing into storm water systems. These storm water filters catch storm water runoff just before it enters inlets and allows water to slowly seep through while sediments and other pollutants, even oil and grease, are collected for safe disposal. There are many storm inlet protection tools available on the market today. These include:

1.                             Drain Guards. These cost-effective covers catch oil and sediments inside basins and drains.

2.                             Grate Guards. This protects curb openings.

3.                             Curb Guard. This protects curb inlets form stormwater runoff and help you comply with NPDES 40 CFR 122.26.

4.                             Gutter Guards. These reusable gutter covers keeps sediment out of curb inlets. Complies with NPDES, 40 CFR 122.26

5.                             Passive Skimmers. These are used for catch basins, drains, vaults and tanks to absorb oil without creating blockage and help you comply with NPDES, 40 CFR 122.26.

The EPA is vigilant about enforcing the Clean Water Act and applying preventive measures to keep sediments and other pollutants out of storm inlets. Stormwater BMP curb and grate protection addresses this concern. Good curb inlet protection helps prevent sediments, chemicals and debris from entering storm water systems and ending up in our streams, rivers, lakes and oceans. When this contaminated runoff gets into our waterways, they can do significant damage to our environment. Stormwater inlet protection not only helps you comply with regulations, it is the right thing to do for the environment.

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