The City of Garden City enforces a strong stormwater management program. The City requires conformance to stormwater pollution standards for construction sites both during and post-construction. The City has long enforced a comprehensive set of stormwater pollution prevention standards, with particular focus on improving the quality and function of construction entrances into disturbed sites.
What is runoff?
Runoff is water in the street gutter and storm drain system. Easily the largest contributors to runoff are rain and snow melt, but they can also be the excessive irrigation of lawns and landscape areas and washing vehicles on paved surfaces that drain to the street.
Informational brochure: Stormwater Quality for Businesses
Isn’t stormwater runoff natural and harmless because it only consists of rainwater?
Rain and snow are not to blame for the stormwater runoff problems. In fact, rainfall and snowfall are completely natural. The problem is the pollution that contaminates runoff during its journey over streets, parking lots, driveways, and other impervious surfaces. Stormwater can also pick up fertilizers, chemicals, and pet waste from lawns and landscape areas.
Are sewers and storm drains the same thing?
No. They are two completely separate drainage systems. Wastewater from your sinks, showers, toilets, and washing machines will travel through the sanitary sewer system to the Wastewater Treatment Plant where it will be extensively treated before being discharged into the Arkansas River. On the other hand, the water entering the storm drains flows untreated, directly to the Arkansas River.
What kinds of pollutants are found in the storm drain systems?
Oils, antifreeze, fertilizers, pesticides, human and animal waste, paint products, sediment, lawn debris (grass and leaves), trash, and other debris are commonly found in the storm drain system
Informational brochure: Solution to Pollution
What solutions exist to solve storm water pollution issues?
What is NPDES?
NPDES stands for National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, which is the compliance system for the EPA’s Clean Water Act. NPDES is divided into two phases. Phase I regulates cities of 100,000 or more. Phase II covers cities of less than 100,000 like Garden City. NPDES requires that storm water discharging to waters of the United States (in our case the Arkansas River) meet minimum federal water quality requirements. More information about the NPDES can be found at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
Why doesn’t the city build a storm water treatment facility?
Because of the variation of rain and snowfall amounts and runoff volume, a storm water treatment facility is economically infeasible.
What is the city doing about illegal dumping into storm drains?
The city has ordinances prohibiting unlawful dumping into storm drains. Enforcement of these ordinances is part of the Phase II program and the City encourages you to report any concerns to the Storm Water Hotline at 620-276-1120 or contact the Storm Water Coordinator so the problem can be investigated and the appropriate action taken. After hours, contact the Police Department at 620-276-1300.
Informational brochure: Protecting Water Quality
What kind of educational programs or informational materials about storm water are available?
The city has placed programs on channel 8, developed informational brochures with local, state, and federal information, including many links to interesting websites on storm water and related issues. In addition the city has is conducting a survey about storm water issues and staff members are available to give presentations.
Informational brochures: FREE groundwater awareness trivia app:
I have seen markers on the storm drains. What do they mean? How can I get one for an unmarked drain?
Part of the Phase II requirements is marking storm drain inlets. These are placed to remind people that anything dumped in the gutters or storm drains could end up in the Arkansas River. The city is inviting local clubs and organizations to assist the city by spending a couple of hours with a staff member marking drains and passing out information in residential areas. If this is something you are interested in finding out more about contact the Storm Water Coordinator at 620-276-1120. If you see an unmarked storm drain contact us and we will check to see if it was missed or if your area has yet to be done.
Informational brochure: Solution to Pollution
Is it okay to wash my car on the driveway?
The City recognizes and shares the pride many people take in their vehicles and understand that you enjoy washing them at home. If done on the driveway this results in soap and chemicals entering the storm drains and eventually draining to the Arkansas River. Commercial car washes are connected to the sanitary sewer system and the soap and chemicals flow to the treatment plant instead of the river.
Informational brochure: Car Wash
Is it okay to wash or sweep leaves, grass, soil, and/or natural elements down the storm drain?
Leaves, grass and sediment (sand and soil) swept or washed into the gutters and storm drains clog the system reducing flow during rain events and requiring increased maintenance. These can also provide a breeding ground for insects and rodents.
Is it okay to wash out paintbrushes and similar items in the gutter?
No. Paintbrushes and other equipment should be cleaned in a sink. Old paint should not be poured out outside.
Informational brochure: Household Waste
Is it okay to leave pet waste on the ground?
No. Pet waste carries bacteria that harm humans and other animals. When left on the ground it can contaminate rain or snow runoff as it travels to the storm drains. Pet waste should be picked up and disposed of in the sanitary sewer or trash containers. Contrary to what most people believe pet waste is not natural for our environment, especially when being dumped into the river. Additionally allowing pet waste to accumulate is prohibited by local pet ordinances and can result in a citation being issued by Animal Control.
Informational brochure: Pet Owners
Why should I care about what goes down the storm drain?
Everyone should be concerned about storm water quality because what we put down storm drains could end up in the Arkansas River. Besides being potentially harmful to our own area what we do affects people downstream. And we all live downstream from somebody.
What can I do to make a difference?
You can make a significant difference in storm water quality simply by changing a few practices at home and work:
- Avoid over watering and watering over pavement.
- Mulch grass clippings into your lawn or begin composting your organic waste.
- Pick up your pet waste and flush it down the toilet or dispose of it in the trash.
- Sweep dirt onto the lawn and pick up any litter you find.
- Wash your car at a commercial car wash or on the lawn.
- When fertilizing follow instructions, sweep up any excess and avoid fertilizing before it rains.
What happens if I see a neighbor, or know of someone who’s dumping trash, oil, or other harmful items into a gutter or storm drain?
A storm drain’s sole purpose is to collect unpolluted storm water runoff and transport it to the Arkansas River. Dumping anything into the gutters or storm drains is illegal. To report illegal dumping or other storm drain related concerns call the Storm Water Hotline at 620-276-1120 or contact the Storm Water Coordinator. If you feel you can talk to the person it may just be a matter of talking to him or her and explaining the detrimental effects it could have.
How can I get involved?
The City of Garden City has a volunteer storm drain marking program for local organizations. For more information contact the Storm Water Coordinator at 620-276-1120.