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Stormwater Info

Below is a list of words commonly used when talking about stormwater and their definition.

Clean Water Act: Put in place by the Federal Government to protect all bodies of water in the United States by reducing water pollution and preserving our lakes and rivers for aquatic life and recreation.

EPA:  Stands for the Environmental Protection Agency.

Erosion:  When dirt, soil, or sediment is washed away by stormwater.

Good Housekeeping: Ways of living and practices to reduce stormwater pollution.

Illicit Discharge: Anything other than stormwater that enters storm sewers, ditches, streams, and lakes.

Impervious Surface:Hard surfaces that prevent stormwater from absorbing into the ground.  Examples are roofs, cement driveways, roads, and sidewalks. 

Member Communities:Cities, townships and villages in Lake County that contract with the Lake County Stormwater Management Department to provide stormwater services.

NPDES:  Stands for National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System.  This is a regulatory program that prohibits or limits the release of pollutants into streams, lakes, and rivers.

Rain garden: A garden that is planted in a wet area of your yard with plants that can withstand water-logged soils.  A downspout can be directed to this garden to absorb the stormwater from your roof, therefore there will be less runoff to the storm sewers.

Sanitary Sewer:  A system of underground pipes that collect all the sewage from the houses in a neighborhood and carry it to a sewage treatment plant.

Sediment: Mud or dirt that is picked up by stormwater and washed into storm sewers and streams.  It often washes away from construction sites and land where there are no plants growing.

Septic System:  An on-lot system that collects the wastewater from your house and releases it into the soil underground to remove any bacteria and contaminants.  No wastewater leaves the property and all water stays underground.

Storm Drain:A metal drain in the street or on the tree lawn that carries only stormwater away from the yard and house.

Storm Sewer System:  Pipes under ground or ditches along the side of the road that carry stormwater to a river, stream, or lake.  Water entering the storm sewer system is not treated at a water treatment plant.

Stormwater Pollution:  Chemicals, dirt, leaves, grass clippings, sewage, or oil that is picked up by stormwater.

Stormwater runoff: Occurs when precipitation from rain or snowmelt flows over the ground, into storm sewers and drainage ditches, eventually flowing to streams and lakes. 

Urbanized Area: A city or town with a dense population.  As defined by the Census Bureau, is a land area comprising one or more central places and the adjacent densely settled surrounding area (urban fringe) that together have a residential population of at least 50,000 and an overall population density of at least 1,000 people per square mile.

Watershed: No matter where water falls in this area of land, the water will flow downhill to the same point.  Think of a watershed like a big bowl.

Wetland: An area of land that stays wet or is covered with water a certain period of time over the course of the year and has certain plants that only grow in wet areas.