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Stormwater is water that flows across the land and into Eureka’s streams, lakes, ditches and canals. When it rains or snows, debris, sediment, bacteria, and nutrients on sidewalks, streets, and parking lots wash into gutters through storm drains and eventually flow untreated into the creeks. Other sources of water include over-irrigation, automobile wash water, or any other activity that results in water flowing into the gutters or streams.
Debris and chemicals such as fertilizers, paint, oil, and other materials that are picked up by stormwater can be harmful to the environment and may end up in Eureka’s lakes and streams such as:
Many large metropolitan areas (population over 10,000) throughout the United States are required to operate their storm sewer systems under a State permit. Under the Federal Clean Water Act, the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit requires these cities to control the amount and the quality of the untreated waste being dumped into surface waterways through storm sewers.
In 1999, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) enacted the Phase II Stormwater Rule that requires small-sized cities, like the City of Eureka, to also obtain a permit and to control the untreated stormwater that enters into the creeks, rivers, and lakes through storm sewers.