The National Pollution Discharge System Programs established by the Clean Water Act of 1987 requires that operators of facilities that discharge storm water associated with industrial activity obtain National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits to control the quality of storm water discharges. MCAS Cherry Point is currently discharging storm water under an individual permit for Industrial Activities . MCAS Cherry Point s storm drain system ultimately discharges to Neuse River.
General Storm Water Knowledge
What is storm water? Storm water is defined as surface runoff from rain or snow melts. Storm water flows across the ground, pavement, or other exposed surfaces where it can pick up various pollutants such as oil, grease, toxic metals, spilled materials, and debris. Unlike the sanitary sewer system where water flows to a wastewater treatment plant, storm water runoff flows into storm drain systems that discharge into our nation's creeks, rivers, lakes, estuaries, bays and oceans. When pollutants are picked up by storm water runoff or dumped directly into storm drains, they can harm our surface waters.
It is important to know the difference between the storm sewer and the sanitary sewer. Although they appear to be the same, there are some very important differences that you need to know about. Waste water that leaves your house or work building, such as through a bathroom or kitchen sink, are discharged through the MCAS Cherry Point sanitary sewer system. Every building at MCAS Cherry Point that contains plumbing is connected to the sanitary sewer. The waste that goes down these pipes drains to the MCAS Cherry Point wastewater treatment plant. The treatment plant is designed to treat and remove pollutants and sewage from the wastewater before it is discharged to the Neuse River. Although the treatment plant is designed to remove pollutants, it cannot remove all pollutants such as solvents or oils, so do not discharge any chemicals into the sink.
The storm sewer is also a collection of underground pipes, but these pipes drain storm water into the Neuse River without removing any pollutants. Therefore, if you dump a quart of oil down the storm sewer, that quart of oil will drain directly into the Neuse River. How can you tell the difference? A good rule of thumb is that any drain inside a building, such as a sink or floor drain, will lead to the sanitary sewer system. Any drain outside a building, such as a storm drain or storm grate, will drain into the storm sewer system. MCAS Cherry Point has placed signs on its storm drains letting you know that they drain directly into the Neuse River.
Pollution Prevention Techniques
Here are some specific steps you can take to reduce your impacts on storm water.
- Wash your car at the MCAS Cherry Point car wash.
- Perform vehicle maintenance only at the Auto Hobby Shop. If your vehicle is leaking oil, clean up the spills with a dry absorbent, like sawdust, and dispose of the waste in a trash can.
- Sweep driveways clean, instead of washing them with water. Dispose of any swept debris in a trash can.
- Apply pesticides and fertilizers in recommended amounts, do not overuse! Do not apply fertilizers and pesticides before a forecasted storm event.
- Properly dispose of unused household chemicals. Do not dump any wastes into storm drains.
- Keep yard clippings out of the street and do not sweep clippings into the gutter.
- Control runoff from sprinkler systems by aiming sprinkler heads away from paved surfaces and water only when necessary.
- Do not dispose of motor oil into the storm drain. Used oil may be recycled at the Auto Hobby Shop.