Storm Water

The Storm Water System is an entirely separate collection system and does not connect to the sanitary sewer system. The Borough owns and operates a storm water network of some 1,300 storm inlets and 60 miles of drainage pipe. The discharge of the storm water is directed to the Manatawny Creek or the Schuylkill River.

Please remember that the storm inlets in the street are not garbage receptacles. Items such as garbage and oil pollute the river. If you see anyone dumping anything in the storm inlets please report them to the Police Department or Public Works immediately.

Storm Water Runoff

Storm water runoff occurs when precipitation from rain or snowmelt flows over the ground. Impervious surfaces like driveways, sidewalks, and streets prevent storm water from naturally soaking into the ground. Everyone can do their part to help prevent the types of pollution that are caused by storm water runoff.

Stormwater and Grass Clippings

The Borough of Pottstown would like to remind residents and commercial mowers that sweeping or blowing grass clippings or leaves into the street is against Borough Ordinance. Ordinance #1773 prohibits putting lawn clippings or leaves in streets, gutters, or other portions of the storm water system, including ditches and storm drains. Streets and gutters flow into the storm water drainage system, which in turn flows into area streams. The storm water drainage system does not flow to the wastewater treatment plant like the sanitary sewer.

When mowing, grass clippings should not be blown into the street. The first few passes with the lawnmower should blow the grass clippings into the lawn, not the street. If there are grass clippings on the street or sidewalk, a broom or leaf blower may blow them back into the lawn.

Disposing of grass clippings or leaves in the street or other portions of the storm water drainage system can create flooding or water quality issues. When the system becomes blocked with grass clippings and leaves, it creates a flooding potential that could result in property damage.

Remember, when grass clippings remain on the lawn, they add free fertilizer to your lawn.

Keeping your leaves and lawn clippings out of the streets and gutters will have significant benefits for the local streams. Grass clippings contribute nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous, which cause unwanted and uncontrolled growth of algae and aquatic weeds in the waterways. Increased algae growth can cause green algae blooms. This can also take much needed oxygen away from fish. Limiting phosphorus reduces algae blooms.

Stormwater - Cars and Driveways

  • Use a commercial car wash or wash your car on a lawn to prevent dirty, soapy water from flowing into the storm inlets.
  • Check your car for leaks and make repairs as soon as possible. Clean up spilled fluids with an absorbent material like kitty litter or sand and dispose of it in the trash. Never rinse a spill into a storm inlet.
  • Recycle used oil and other automotive fluids at service stations. Don't dump these liquids down the storm inlets or dispose of them in your trash.
  • Use de-icing salts sparingly, as excessive amounts of these materials can harm water ways.

Stormwater and Mosquitoes

  • Look for possible breeding areas in your backyard.
  • Homeowners should check their property to eliminate mosquito breeding. Water can collect in unused flower pots, buckets, cups, tires, and other items that hold stagnant water and may provide the perfect habitats for mosquitoes. What can homeowners do to deter mosquito breeding?
  • Pick up trash and old containers that may have collected in the yard and can hold water.
  • Clear clogged rain gutters.
  • Cover containers, tires, wading pools, and all other items that can hold standing water for extended periods of time.
  • Change the water in bird baths and pet dishes regularly.

Water Quality

Water quality affects everybody's life in some way. People can get sick from water based bacteria, it can make lakes and streams unfit to swim or fish, or it can even make your pets ill. Clean water is everybody's business. Pollutants brought on by storm water runoff can harm fish and wildlife populations, kill native vegetation, foul drinking water supplies, and make recreational areas unsafe and unpleasant.

Environmental Concerns

The Effects of Pollution

  • Polluted storm water runoff can have many adverse effects on plants, fish, animals, and people. Other effects of storm water runoff:
  • 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 such as plastic bags, six-pack rings, bottles, and cigarette butts that get washed into water bodies 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 storm water often affects drinking water sources. This, in turn, can affect human health and increase drinking water treatment costs.

Web Links for More Information

US Environmental Protection Agency
US EPA Stormwater Program
PA Department of Environmental Protection
PA DEP Stormwater Management Program
PA DEP Southeastern Regional Office
Federal Emergency Management Agency
Center for Watershed Protection
Montgomery County Conservation District