Storm Water Education

"We All Live Downstream" 

Stormwater pollution is the runoff that occurs from rain, irrigation and snow melt and everything that is picked up along the way as it travels downhill to the nearest stream, river lake and beach.  This runoff does not get treated, but goes straight to the waterways that we use for fishing, bathing and even drinking.  What is picked up by stormwater runoff is "people pollution" - fertilizers and pesticides, motor oil, sand and dirt, pet waste, trash and so on.  All of this can amount to one dirty waterway.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) actually considers stormwater the greatest threat to our water quality.  Here is what you, as a homeowner, pet owner, or car owner can do to reduce stormwater pollution:

  1. Test Your Soil before applying fertilizer to your lawn - your lawn may already have enough nutrients.  Excess nutrients from excess fertilizer ends up in our lakes and rivers leading to algae blooms and fish kills.

  2. Pick Up Pet Waste to keep it from contaminating water supplies.  You can flush the waste, bag it for trash or build a doggie-loo (pet waste septic system).

  3. Wash Your Car On The Lawn instead of the driveway to minimize runoff into the storm drain and use low-phosphorus, biodegradable soaps. Remember to check your car for leaks - these chemicals wash off road surfaces into the waterway.

  4. Bag Grass Clippings And Leaves Or Use Them As Compost.  Don't sweep them into the street or down storm drains as that leads to nutrient issues and potential clogging and flooding.

  5. Don't Over-Water Your Lawn, doing so sends more pollutants into nearby drains.  Plus, your lawn only requires little more than an inch of rain per week.  A rain gauge will help you keep track of how much rain your lawn is receiving.

"GO GREEN" Lexington County Car Wash Fundraiser Program

The Lexington Countywide Stormwater Consortium (LCSC) has partnered with local commercial car wash operators to launch the Car Wash Fundraiser Program.  Community groups can purchase discounted car wash coupons from participating facilities that they can then re-sell.  It's quick, easy and safe for the environment.

Car wash fundraisers are an important means for an organization to raise money, but if the wash water isn't handled properly, it can be harmful to the environment.  Car wash fundraisers are usually held in parking lots of local  businesses where the water enters the storm drain.  The water that enters a storm drain doesn't go to a wastewater treatment facility where it is cleaned.  Instead the water empties directly into local creeks, rivers and streams.  All of the pollutants that are in wash water go down the storm drain and are deposited in local waterways as well.  If you think about all the pollutants that are in car wash water, soaps, oils & grease, heavy metals, you realize that a lot of pollutants can be transported to local waterways.

Commercial car washing facilities direct their wash water to the sanitary sewer where the wash water is treated.  Most commercial car wash facilities use special equipment to conserve water and recycle the wash water at their facility.  Using a commercial facility is the best choice when washing a car.  This partnership allows local organizations to meet their fundraising goals without holding the traditional (time consuming and labor intensive) car wash.  Through this partnership groups can not only raise funds year round they can also ensure that their fundraisers will not be harmful to the environment.  We urge local groups to contact the participating car washes and get started selling tickets instead of holding car washes in a parking lot somewhere.

The participating car wash in Irmo is:
Franks Car Wash
1113 Lake Murray Boulevard
Irmo, SC 29063  

Car Washing Information

Washing your car at home can use 80-140 gallons of water - In comparison, a commercial car wash facility uses 40-45 gallons of water per wash.

Many commercial car washes recycle and reuse the wash water that is generated

Most professional car washes save water by using high pressure pumps to clean the car thoroughly while conserving water

The presence of soap in waterways at low concentrations can kill fish eggs and at higher concentrations lead to fish kills.

There are 214,023 personal vehicles registered in Lexington County.  If 40% of those vehicles are washed at home once a month, then well over 82 million gallons of polluted water could potentially enter local waterways.

"What Is A Rain Barrel?"

Save rain, save water, save money!  Did you know that half of a typical household's water use is outside of the home? That's half of your water bill!  Rain barrels, or similar rain catchment systems (cisterns), have been used throughout history in many different cultures.  Rainwater collection systems offer many benefits to individuals who use them, ranging from lower water bills to a better quality water for plants (no chlorine, which some plants dislike).  Rainwater collection systems also benefit the environment.  The obvious advantages are less withdrawal of groundwater and conserved use of treated municipal water.  The less obvious advantage of rainwater collection is that it helps reduce stormwater runoff, lessening the amount of runoff that may lead to flooding.

"What Is A Rain Garden?"

A rain garden is a landscape depression that intercepts runoff, and allows the water to slowly infiltrate into the groundwater table.  As well as intercepting runoff that could possibly add to flooding and stream erosion problems, the rain garden allows nature to play a role in removing pollutants from stormwater runoff that could otherwise affect the water quality of nearby lakes, rivers, and streams.  Plants use excess nutrients for growth, sediment gets trapped in the rain garden, and the rain garden becomes a landscaped feature in your yard that is also habitat for bees, butterflies, and birds.  Plus, a rain garden uses water from your rooftop and driveway for irrigation, saving you money on your water bill.

JOINT RESOLUTION ADOPTING A REGIONAL WATERSHED STORMWATER EDUCATION STRATEGY

WHEREAS, population growth, residential and industrial development, and the resulting changes to the landscape have led to stormwater quality and quantity concerns throughout Lexington County Watersheds, and
WHEREAS, these impacts cannot be entirely avoided or eliminated but can be minimized: and
WHEREAS, it is currently recognized that control of stormwater quantity and quality is most effectively implemented when people and organizations understand the related causes and consequences of polluted stormwater runoff and flooding, and the actions they can take to control these, and
WHEREAS, the need arises not only from the regulatory requirements of EPA NPDES Phase II Stormwater rules, but also from the recognition that local decision makers, citizens and elected officials will require more than a rudimentary grasp of stormwater pollution and flooding concerns in order to make effective decisions that will have a positive impact on stormwater issues, and
WHEREAS, the development and implementation of effective, outcomes-based stormwater education and outreach programs will meet the related federal stormwater pollution control requirements and those of the communities they serve,
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the county of Lexington in full cooperation with the municipalities of Cayce, Irmo, Pine Ridge, South Congaree, Springdale, Town of Lexington and West Columbia fully supports the development and implementation of a regional watershed stormwater education strategy.  Efforts will be overseen by the Lexington Countywide Stormwater Consortium (LCSC) and their respective municipal and county representatives.

Water Resources

Lexington County Wide Stormwater Consortium

Lexington County Stormwater

Environmental Protection Agency