Members of the Whippany Park High School Environmental Club proudly stand before their storm 

water management display to raise public awareness of non-point source water pollution.


On Thursday, April 12th, students from the Whippany Park High School Environmental Club crafted a display showcasing simple steps the public can take to keep pollutants from running to rivers and streams.  READ MORE.





What Are Stormwater and Stormwater Runoff?

As the name implies, stormwater is water from a storm (rain, melting snow, or ice).  Stormwater runoff is stormwater that does not soak into the ground, but flows across outdoor surfaces like roads, sidewalks, lawns, driveways and parking lots, and drains into water bodies. Unlike water used within homes and businesses which flows to a water treatment plant, stormwater runoff is not treated and flows directly to rivers, streams, and oceans.   


What is Stormwater Pollution?

While traveling to water bodies, stormwater runoff can pick up a variety of substances – litter, chemicals, fertilizer, pet waste, pesticides, detergents, oil, grease, etc., – which then pollutes these bodies of water.  This is known as “Stormwater Pollution”.   The best way to keep water clean is to keep pollutants off the ground and out of the path of stormwater runoff, so that only clean water enters the water bodies.


Are there laws governing stormwater pollution?

There are federal, state, and local laws that prohibit residents and businesses from discharging or depositing pollutants into any waters or onto land where these pollutants might eventually enter water.  The Township of Hanover currently has the following ordinances on the books to prevent stormwater pollution:

Ordinance Requiring Pet Owners To Properly Dispose of Pet Waste (Chapter 117, Article IV, Sections 117-34 – 117-39 of the Code of the Township of Hanover)

Ordinance Prohibiting Feeding of Wildlife on Public Land (Chapter 117, Article III, Sections 117-28 – 117-33 )

Ordinance Regulating Placement of Yardwaste for Collection (Chapter 154, Article V, Sections 154-38  - 154-42 and Article VI, Sections 154-43 – 154-47)

Ordinance Prohibiting Littering (Chapter 171, Sections 171-1 – 171-22) 

Ordinance Prohibiting Illicit Connections (Chapter 230, Article I, Sections 230-1 – 230-5) 

Ordinance Regulating Application of Fertilizer (Ord. 20-09 – Ordinance not yet codified) 

Ordinance Prohibiting Improper Waste Disposal (Chapter 230, Article II, Sections 230-6 – 230-11)

Ordinance 27-10, Requires Refuse and Dumpster Containers to be Covered at all Times

Ordinance 28-10, Prohibits Repairing, Resurfacing, or Altering in any way any Surface in Direct Contact with an Existing Storm Drain Inlet

The following information is being provided to give readers a general idea of what the law requires.  It is not intended to provide a comprehensive description of the ordinance. The reader should consult the applicable ordinance for a full description of prohibited activities, exemptions that apply, and penalties associated with violation of these ordinances.


What Do These Local Laws Require?


How Does This Help Keep Water Clean?



“Pet Waste Ordinance” – Requires all members of the public to immediately and properly dispose of pet waste deposited on any public or private property not owned or possessed by the pet’s owner or person walking the pet. Proper disposal requires picking pet waste up, wrapping it, and placing it in the trash or flushing it unwrapped down the toilet.  People with assistance animals such as Seeing Eye dogs are exempt. 


Pet waste left on the ground washes into storm drains and then flows to rivers, lakes and eventually oceans.  Animal waste has a high concentration of nutrients, bacteria, and micro-organisms that pollute water and  can cause disease.  Keeping pet  waste off the ground and out of storm drains through proper disposal eliminates a significant source of water pollution.


“Prohibition of Feeding Wildlife on Public Land” – Prohibits members of the public from feeding wildlife animals and waterfowl at any time during the year within the Township on any Township owned public property, including all parks and  recreational facilities, forested land, vacant land, or in and around any Township-owned building.


Encouraging wildlife to nest or  live on public land will increase animal waste that can wash into storm drains and pollute water.


 “Yardwaste Collection ” – Requires residents to place leaves in the street a minimum distance of 10 feet from any catch basin. Also requires residents to keep grass and hedge clippings in a container not exceeding 32 gallons or 50 pounds when filled, and to keep container tightly covered.


Decaying leaves release pollutants that will adversely affect water quality. Keeping leaves out of storm drains keeps these pollutants away from the water we’re trying to protect.  As grass and hedge clippings break down, they can also release pollutants.  Placing them in a tightly covered container until collection keeps them off the street and out of the path of stormwater runoff.


“Prohibition of Littering” -  Prohibits throwing or depositing litter on any street, sidewalk, or other public place within the Township.  Requires use of  public and private receptacles to discard garbage and refuse.


Trash and recycling thrown on the ground can easily make its way to a storm drain inlet.  Once garbage, rubbish and refuse get into the storm drain system, this debris flows into streams, lakes, rivers and eventually, the ocean.


“Illicit Connections” – Prohibits unauthorized connections into the municipal storm sewer system that would allow domestic sewage, noncontact cooling water, process wastewater, or other industrial waste (other than stormwater) to be discharged into the sewer system.


Prohibiting  the release of pollutants into the municipal storm sewer system, either through a physical connection or a non-physical connection (e.g., leaks, flows, overflows), keeps untreated sewage, industrial waste, and other harmful materials out of our water.


“Application of Fertilizer” – Prohibits applying fertilizer when it’s raining or expected to rain, or  when the ground is soaked, or on an impervious surface without cleaning it up, or within 25 feet of any body of water. Also prohibits applying fertilizer during November, December, January, or February.  Prohibits application of phosphorus fertilizer, with certain exemptions. 


Improper application of fertilizer causes excess nutrients to enter waterways.  Excess nutrients, especially phosphorous, can result in excessive and accelerated growth of algae and aquatic plants.  Excessive plant and algal growth can result in extremes in dissolved oxygen and ph levels, which in turn, can be harmful to aquatic life.  Keeping excess nutrients out of water bodies reduces the chance for excessive and accelerated growth of algae and aquatic plants.


“Improper Waste Disposal” -  Prohibits dumping, spilling or disposal of materials other than stormwater into the stormwater system. 


Preventing waste materials (used motor oil, antifreeze, trash, yard waste, etc.) from being directly placed into a storm sewer inlet or from flowing into the stormwater system keeps water free of pollutants.


“Covered Refuse and Dumpster Containers” -Requires refuse and dumpster containers to be covered at all times and kept from overflowing. The container or dumpster must not leak or otherwise discharge liquids, semi-liquids, or solids into the stormwater system.  The following containers are exempted: Permitted temporary demolition containers, litter receptacles (other than dumpsters or other bulk containers), individual homeowner trash and recycling containers.  


Keeping trash, recycling, refuse, and liquid waste materials tightly covered until collection, keeps these materials from spilling onto the ground and flowing into the stormwater system.


“Private Storm Drain Inlet Retrofitting” - Prohibits persons in control of private property (except a residential lot with one single family house) from repaving, repairing, resurfacing, reconstructing or altering any surface in direct contact with an existing storm drain inlet on that property, unless the storm drain inlet already meets the Township’s Design Standard to control passage of solid and floatable materials, or is retrofitted or replaced to meet the standard.   (Please refer to full ordinance for details on design standard and exemptions).



Retrofitting Storm Drain Inlets in accordance with Township Design Standards prevents solid and floatable materials – i.e., sediment, debris, trash and other floating, suspended, or settleable solids from flowing into the Township’s stormwater system.

What Can You Do To Help Keep Water Clean?

In addition to complying with the Township’s ordinances, State, and Federal laws, there are things that members of the public can do to help keep our water clean.



Use fertilizer sparingly and sweep any that goes onto your driveway, sidewalk or roadway.

Keep your trash and recycling containers tightly covered to prevent sanitation and recycling from blowing onto the road and sidewalks.

Never dump anything down storm drains.  Report any illegal dumping activities you witness to the Police Department.

Vegetate bare spots on your property.

Compost your yard waste.

Keep use of pesticides to a minimum.  Learn about Integrated Pest Management (IPM).

Direct downspouts away from paved surfaces. 

Take your vehicles to the car wash instead of washing them in your driveway.

Check your vehicles for leaks, and recycle motor oil.

Pick up after your pet on your own property, and properly dispose of the waste.

Don’t be a litterbug.     

Join a watershed action committee.



Prevent wash or rinse water from entering storm drains.

Keep your premises clean.

Don’t rinse off work floors unless all water can be collected or directed to an approved sanitary waste system.

If you can’t rinse without getting dirty water in storm drains, then use other cleaning options.  Vacuum or dry sweep the area. Use absorbent material to collect most of the grime and then use solvent on a rag to remove the remaining grime. Consider painting work floors to prevent absorption of oil.

Install cigarette butt receptacles for customers and employees.

Keep sidewalks and parking lots free of litter and debris.  Keep trash and recycling receptacles where patrons and employees can easily discard unwanted items.

Empty receptacles regularly.

Participate in an “Adopt A Road’ program to help keep the road your business is on free of litter.

Environmental Commission Corner

                                                  Stormwater Management

Irrigation of the land with seawater desalinated by fusion power is ancient. It's called 'rain'. – Michael McClary

There are several great resources available that thoroughly discuss the many aspects of stormwater management.  
While our planet is primarily covered by water, only three percent is actually fresh-water.  And while that small
percentage has been sustaining life on land for centuries, it is nevertheless essential that we understand how to
responsibly cope with its ever-increasing demand.  There are measures we can take both high on the rooftops and down
in the dirt that will aid us in our efforts.  The follow is a list of references that will inform, educate, and inspire
you to understand the importance of stormwater management.  Further resources may be brought to the attention of the
Hanover Township Environmental Commission.

- New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection

 - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

 - Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

 - Design for Water: Rainwater Harvesting, Stormwater Catchment, and Alternate Water Reuse

                                                        by Heather Kinkade-Levario


For more information, check out these websites:

The EPA web site

The New Jersey web site

The Whippany River Watershed Action Committee web site