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
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
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
Prohibits Repairing, Resurfacing, or Altering in any way any Surface
in Direct Contact with an Existing Storm Drain Inlet
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.
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
Encouraging wildlife to nest or live on public land
will increase animal waste that can wash into storm drains and pollute
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
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
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
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
“Covered Refuse and Dumpster
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
Keeping trash, recycling, refuse, and
liquid waste materials tightly covered until collection, keeps these
materials from spilling onto the ground and flowing into the
“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.
fertilizer sparingly and sweep any that goes onto your driveway,
sidewalk or roadway.
trash and recycling containers tightly
covered to prevent
sanitation and recycling
blowing onto the road and sidewalks.
anything down storm drains. Report any illegal dumping activities you
witness to the Police Department.
bare spots on your property.
your yard waste.
of pesticides to a minimum. Learn about Integrated Pest Management (IPM).
downspouts away from paved surfaces.
Take your vehicles to the car wash instead of
them in your driveway.
vehicles for leaks, and recycle motor oil.
after your pet on your own property, and properly dispose of the waste.
Don’t be a
watershed action committee.
wash or rinse water from entering storm drains.
Keep your premises clean.
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
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
recycling receptacles where patrons and employees can easily discard
Empty receptacles regularly.
in an “Adopt A Road’ program to help keep the road your business is on
free of litter.
Environmental Commission Corner
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
The EPA web site
The New Jersey web site
The Whippany River Watershed Action Committee web