What is stormwater pollution?

Stormwater systems collect rain, snow melt, and man-produced runoff from impervious surfaces (parking lots, roofs, streets, etc.). This runoff, called stormwater, flows along the curb and gutter and then into a storm drain. Contaminants on these surfaces (oil, antifreeze, trash, grass clippings, pet waste, etc.) are washed into the storm drain with the water.

After entering the storm drain, stormwater is routed to local creeks and the Monongahela River. Anything not composed entirely of stormwater, except for discharges allowed un- der a permit or waters used for firefighting op- erations, is called an illicit discharge. Although it is easy to assume a small spill here and there will not contaminate our water, even the smallest spill can have disastrous effects. This is especially true when considering the compounding impact of multiple small spills.

[Text Box: Morgantown Utility Board 278 Greenbag Road Morgantown, WV 26507 (304) 292-8443 www.mub.org] For this reason as well as to meet EPA standards for municipalities, in 2001 the City of Morgantown delegated Morgantown Utility Board responsibility for managing stormwater in City limits and the surrounding watershed. This responsibility involves a number of components, including managing illicit discharges.

Because local businesses such as yours play an integral part in helping protect our water, we are sharing best practices for controlling illicit discharges. Please take a moment to review them and let us know if you have any questions. By working together we can ensure our local water remains clean and healthy!

Workplace spills are costly

They slow down or even halt production/service, can cause serious injury, and can adversely impact the environment.Spills can also lead to fines, litigation and even the suspension of operating licenses. The good news is that there are a number of simple actions that can be done to prevent spills. While some of these may appear to be commonsense, they are often overlooked. Take time to review these tips with your staff and continuously encourage them to take action to reduce spills.

Spill Prevention

Use smart storage techniques

  • Store materials in appropriate, well sealed containers, and in the proper environment
  • Group similar materials together and post each material storage area with the proper spill response technique and emergency phone numbers
  • Store all materials indoors, away from exterior doors and drains, to prevent environmental contamination

Limit materials - minimize risk

  • Minimize the risk of major spills by limiting the amount of hazardous materials stored in your workplace

Move materials carefully

  • When moving materials, carry one container at a time or place multiple containers on a rolling cart

Look for leaks

  • Check storage equipment, lines and dispensing areas for signs of leaks as often as possible

Spill Response

Know your materials

Ensure that all employees are familiar with the proper storage, handling techniques and spill response methods for each material in the workplace.

Develop a spill response plan

Create a spill response plan and train employees on how to respond to different spills. Maintain materi- al safety data sheets for each material. These sheets should include correct spill response, cleanup and disposal techniques. Be sure each worker reads and understands the worksite spill response plan and keep copies of the material safety data sheets easily accessible so employees can refer to them quickly.

Gear up
When cleaning up a spill, workers should wear the appropriate protective gear, including gloves, safety glasses, coveralls and respirators. Make sure that all employees know where this gear is stored and when and how to use this equipment.

Respond immediately and ask for help 

If a worker causes or finds a spill, they should notify their supervisor and surrounding coworkers immediately. If the spill is flammable or volatile material, shut off all flame sources and air out the area. Barricade the spill area so workers avoid exposure to the substance and prevent spilled material from entering floor drains or outside areas. While workers can handle some spills, other spills should only be cleaned by an expert. Ensure that all your employees under- stand when it’s okay for them to clean a spill and when they should contact their supervisor or an outside professional for help.

Report Illicit and Suspicious Discharges

Anything entering the storm sewers other than stormwater or clean uncontaminated water is considered an “Illicit Discharge.”

MUB regularly completes field assessments to search out these discharges and correct them, but public concerns and reports of suspicious discharges to our storm sewers and streams are always handled seriously and are greatly appreciated.

Visually, these discharges can appear cloudy or discolored, may appear as a sheen on top of water, and/or may have an odor. You do not have to identify the source of a discharge to notify MUB. We will trace the discharge to its origin.

Remember: If you see anything entering the storm sewer or a stream that just doesn’t look right, let us know!