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NEWS | Aug. 20, 2008

What can CAFB do about storm water runoff pollution?

By Charles Wannamaker 437th Civil Engineer Squadron

Per Phase II of the Environmental Protection Agency, Charleston AFB has implemented a storm water management program.

In order to help decrease water pollution, Charleston AFB housing residents are provided with the "Family Housing Brochure," Charleston AFB Pamphlet 32-301. Chapter 2 outlines responsibilities for environmental issues. Paragraph 2.11.10 provides the weekly lawn inspection checklist and defines the point system for deficiencies and enforcement actions for non-compliance. A few of the storm water pollutants issues are listed below:

 Mowing - Grass should be maintained between 2 and 4 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 like 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 - Vehicles such as boats, jet skis, campers, motor homes, slide-in-campers, pop-up campers and trailers 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 the lawn twice a year.

Storm water 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. Storm water runoff usually contains contaminants such as fertilizer, pesticides, oil, grease, soaps, antifreeze, trash, pet waste and sediment from erosion.

The Federal Water Pollution Control Act, commonly called the Clean Water Act, is designed to clean up and maintain clean water nationwide. 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.

Clean water is a valuable resource that is absolutely necessary for everyone's existence. Contaminated and polluted waterways coupled with drought and water shortages highlight the growing need to reduce water pollution. Studies show that polluted storm water runoff is the greatest contributor to water contamination. Pollution prevention is the best solution. Polluted water and sites are very expensive to decontaminate.

For any additional information or to report illicit dumping or discharges, call the base's storm water program manager, Charles Wannamaker, at 963-2705.