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NEWS | Nov. 1, 2010

Prevention is the solution to stormwater pollution

By Charles Wannamaker 628th Civil Engineer Squadron, asset management natural infrastructure

Clean water is a valuable resource that is absolutely necessary for our existence, but contaminated and polluted waterways coupled with drought and water shortages have highlighted the growing need to reduce water pollution.

Studies show that polluted stormwater runoff is the greatest contributor to water contamination. Polluted stormwater runoff from homes, businesses and construction sites contaminate our waters with fertilizer, pesticides, oil, grease, soaps, antifreeze, trash, pet waste, and sediment from erosion.

Stormwater also transports pollutants from driveways, rooftops, lawns, parking lots and new developments to ditches, creeks, rivers, marshes and estuaries.

These pollutants can harm fish and wildlife populations, kill native vegetation, contaminate drinking water supplies, and make water recreation areas unpleasant and unsafe.

The Federal Water Pollution Control Act commonly called the Clean Water Act is designed to clean-up and maintain clean water in our nation. The program is being fine tuned by increasing public education and awareness.

New laws are targeting home owners, businesses and new-development construction in urbanized areas to help stop water pollution. Newsletter articles, fliers, television ads and media spots are being designed for public outreach awareness and education.

Polluted waters and sites are very expensive to decontaminate, therefore, JB-CHS housing residents have responsibilities to prevent stormwater pollution.

Per the Environmental Protection Agency's Phase II Stormwater Rule, Joint Base Charleston has implemented a stormwater management program.

A few of the stormwater pollutant issues are:
  • Mowing - Grass should be maintained between two and four inches in height. Clippings should be swept from driveway, sidewalk and curb surfaces and collected into bags for disposal, not into storm drains.
  • Removal of debris - The lawn must be free of debris such as paper, cans, candy wrappers, etc.
  • Vehicles - Major repairs of vehicles are not authorized in carports, driveways or parking spaces. Any repairs requiring the vehicle to be on jacks or ramps constitutes major repair. The Auto Hobby Shop is available for this type of work.
  • Recreational vehicles - Recreational vehicles such as boats, jet skis, campers, motor homes, slide-in-campers, pop-up campers, and trailers (car, utility, boat) are prohibited from storage in the housing area. Recreational vehicles must be stored in the RV lot on base.
  • Winter lawn care - Rake and bag leaves and pine needles. Fertilize lawn twice a year.
The stormwater program manager for JB CHS-Air Base is Charles Wannamaker. The Weapons Station manager is Karl Ray. They are the points-of-contact for all compliance issues and can be reached at 963-2705 and 764-4010, respectively. Please call for additional information or to report illicit dumping or discharges.