What is Stormwater Run-off and Why is Run-off a Problem?
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 to a lake, stream, river, wetland, or coastal water. Anything that enters a storm sewer system is discharged untreated into the waterbodies we use for swimming, fishing, and providing drinking water.
There are lots of LITTLE ways BUSINESSES can make a BIG impact!
Have Your Parking Lot Swept
Sweeping parking lots at least once a year in the spring time removes sand, sediment, and other pollutants that will eventually make there way into drainage systems and watercourses.
Maintain Your Drainage System
Drainage systems for parking lots and driveways require routine maintenance to remove accumulated sediment, debris, and pollutants to keep these materials from reaching the Town's wetlands and watercourses. A maintenance plan is typically approved as part of the development of each property, and a copy can be found at Town Hall or by calling the Engineering Division at (860) 652-7735. An example storm drainage system maintenance plan for a commercial property can be found here.
Understand Your Sewage Disposal System
Problems with sewage pumps and equipment can lead to sewage overflows that cause pollution to town waterways. Know your sewage disposal system and ensure it gets the regular maintenance that it needs!
Ensure Your Restaurant is Properly Handling and Disposing of Grease
Grease is leading cause of blockages in sewer pipes, causing sewage overflows that contribute bacteria to town wetlands and watercourses. Ensure your restaurant's exterior grease trap tank is regularly cleaned out. Or if an interior AGRU is used, this also must be regularly cleaned to ensure the grease does not enter the town sewer system. See the FOG page for additional information on grease handling for restaurants.
If you see something, say something!
Report stormwater pollution when you see it in our community! It's easy using the Citizen Request for Service system. Enter the LOCATION, click NEXT, then under "TYPE OF ISSUE" select "Drainage - Report Stormwater Pollution", or simply contact the Engineering Division at (860) 652-7735 to initiate an inspection.
What are the effects of Stormwater Pollution?
- Sediment can cloud the water and make it difficult or impossible for aquatic plants to grow. Sediment also can destroy aquatic habitats
- Excess nutrients can cause algae blooms. When algae die, they sink to the bottom and decompose
in a process that removes oxygen from the water. Fish and other aquatic organisms can’t exist in water with low dissolved oxygen levels.
- Bacteria and other pathogens can wash into swimming areas and create health hazards, often making beach closures necessary.
- Debris—plastic bags, six-pack rings, bottles, and cigarette butts—washed into waterbodies can choke, suffocate, or disable aquatic life like ducks, fish, turtles, and birds.
- Household hazardous wastes like insecticides, pesticides, paint, solvents, used motor oil, and other auto fluids can poison aquatic life. Land animals and people can become sick or die from eating diseased fish and shellfish or ingesting polluted water.
- Polluted stormwater often affects drinking water sources. This, in turn, can affect human health and increase drinking water treatment costs.
Other ways to Help....
See the brochures below for other ways that you can help reduce stormwater pollution.