Salem Stormwater Management Plan
Salem, VA is located in the southwestern region of Virginia. Salem is a diverse city celebrating 200 years of community. Currently, Salem has 24,635 residents and many of these residents inadvertently contribute to stormwater drainage pollution. Stormwater typically doesn't get treated before the runoff enters a waterway. The City of Salem's stormwater drainage system runs directly into the Roanoke River. The Roanoke River provides drinking water to the residents of Salem. Many people aren't aware of the different types of pollution that go into these storm drains. Environmental education programs are essential to the health of the Roanoke River and to the biodiversity of the area.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is requiring cities to adhere to a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System or NPDES. Due to the size of Salem, it must adhere to Phase II of the stormwater program. Phase II contains public education and minimum control measures. Public education and outreach is important to a successful stormwater management program.
EPA Requirements Under Phase II Final Rule:
Implement a public education program to distribute educational materials to the community, or conduct equivalent outreach activities about the impacts of stormwater discharges on local waterbodies and the steps that can be taken to reduce stormwater pollution; and determine the appropriate best management practices (BMPs) and measurable goals for this minimum control measure.
How This Webpage Affects You
Salem is faced with meeting the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Phase II requirements of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). In order to do so, Salem must raise public awareness so that residents can make better-informed decisions about water usage. Salem residents and businesses are responsible for making informed decisions that affect the Roanoke River and surrounding waterways. This webpage is here to help inform Salem of stormwater drainage.
- What is stormwater run-off?
Stormwater run-off is the water that flows off roofs, driveways, parking lots, streets, and other hard surfaces during rain storms. Rather than being absorbed into the ground the water runs through ditches and storm drains into the river. It does not receive treatment before entering the river.
- What can I do at home?
- Don't fertilize or apply weed killers to your lawn before a forecasted rain shower - chemicals will wash away. Only apply recommended amounts.
- Use slow-release natural fertilizers and low-toxicity pest control products.
- Sweep or soak up chemical spills on driveways and sidewalks.
- Bag, mulch, or compost yard waste. Don't sweep leaves, grass, and other debris into the gutter.
- Select plants and grasses which grow easily in Salem and require less water, fertilizers, and pesticides.
- Control sprinkler run-off by watering only when necessary, and aim sprinkler heads away from paved surfaces.
- Sweep your driveway instead of hosing it down.
- Control erosion. Stabilize exposed soil areas to prevent soil from eroding during rain events. This is particularly important on steep slopes. The most cost-effective choice is to vegetate the area, preferably with a mulch or binder that holds the soils
- Take your vehicle to a car wash, or use non-phosphate, biodegradable detergents.
- Dry up oil spills or antifreeze into containers and seal them.
- Drain oil, lubricants, and antifreeze into containers and seal them. Then contact the Fire Administration to find out where to dispose of the chemicals at 540-375-3080.
- Take used oil, lubricants, and antifreeze to a designated gas station or recycling center for disposal.
- Clean rain gutters frequently
- Do not rinse paint cans, brushes, detergent pails, or other cleaning containers on your driveway or the street.
- Firmly seal and store all used chemicals, and dispose of excess material at the designated site given to you by the Fire Administration.
- How can I educate my employees?
- Incorporate stormwater drainage education into the staff's training programs.
- Prepare brief, informative presentations that can include speakers to introduce key topics. It is important to educate the employees about how practices at work can affect stormwater. Regulations can be discussed and how they will affect everyday activities, such as maintenance.
- Post good housekeeping signs wherever they are appropriate. Make items such as drip pans and spill kits readily available at these locations to prevent spills and leaks from coming in contact with stormwater drains.
- Consider a recognition program for staff who regularly practice environmental stewardship, teach others by their actions and are active in developing pollution prevention solutions.
- Where do Salem’s storm drains empty?
Salem’s storm drains empty directly into the Roanoke River.
- Are yard clippings dangerous to put into storm drains?
Yes, for two reasons. Yard clippings carry whatever chemicals are put on the grass. The yard clippings actually act as individual pieces of pollutants. Secondly, yard clippings can slow storm drains and create many problems.
- How do I dispose of household hazardous waste / chemicals, etc?
For disposal information call the Fire Administration at 540-375-3080. Often times oil can be taken to auto parts store or oil change facilities for recycling.
- What problems can stormwater run-off lead too?
Stormwater run-off often carries many pollutants (heavy metals, oil byproducts, excessive nutrients, etc.) into whatever waterway the run-off enters. This pollution can have harsh environmental effects on the biodiversity of the waterway. Not to mention, Salem residents drink their water from the Roanoke River.
- What is a TMDL?
Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) is a term used to describe the amount of pollution a stream can receive and still meet water quality standards. Water quality standards are regulations based on federal or state law that set numeric or narrative limits on pollutants. TMDLs are required for water bodies that are determined to be impaired. The Virginia TMDL program was historically governed by a federal court order Consent Decree that laid out a schedule for TMDL development through 2010 for waters identified as impaired by 1998. For all other water bodies, TMDL development is generally scheduled within 8 to 12 years of finding the water body impaired.
The Roanoke River watershed, which includes Salem, currently has 3 TMDLs: PCB, Bacteria, and Benthic (sediment).