Stormwater Management

Definition of Stormwater

When it rains, impervious surfaces such as rooftops, driveways, parking lots and roads prevent water from being absorbed into the ground. Instead, this rainwater drains downhill and is known as stormwater runoff.

Unlike household wastewater, stormwater is not treated. That means the everyday pollutants and litter have a direct impact on our local water quality.

Diagram Showing How Stormwater Enters the Ground

Why Stormwater Management is Important

Stormwater runoff can erode soil and wash a wide variety of pollutants off the land, such as fertilizers and pesticides, soil and debris from lawns, oil, antifreeze, metals from streets and parking lots, and litter. These pollutants are washed into our storm drains and can clog the system causing local flooding, and eventually emptying into our waterways, causing pollution-related closures, fish kills, and other negative impacts.

Because the waterways and aquatic resources around the City are deemed to have a significant economic and quality of life value, federal and state regulations require us to better manage the quality of the stormwater that is entering our creeks and streams, the Appomattox and James River, and the Chesapeake Bay. These regulations require much planning and educational effort to be effective, but the benefits include cleaner water and a healthier environment!

Urban runoff can carry oil, grease, trash, and other pollutants to our streams and rivers.

Urban Run off Entering Streams and Sewers

What the City Doing to Reduce Stormwater Pollution

The City of Hopewell is hard at work developing and implementing stormwater management programs that include the construction of best management practices (BMPs), drainage system maintenance, enforcement of City Ordinances, and public education. Some examples of what we do include:

  • Street sweeping -This helps remove litter and debris that would otherwise be washed into storm drains and into our waterways.
  • Inspect construction sites for erosion and sediment controls to decrease the amount of soil carried off-site.
  • Inspecting storm drains for illicit discharges.
  • Educate our employees and citizens about reducing pollutants in stormwater runoff. This helps to determine the source of pollutants, which can help localities to better target future program efforts. Citizen input is very helpful in reporting illicit dumping into storm drains.

Many of these activities are required by the Federal Clean Water Act and are included in the City’s Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Permit.

Report Stormwater Pollution

Learn how you can report Stormwater Pollution.