Stormwater Management & Clean Water Resources
Please take a moment to give us your stormwater feedback with our Online Survey by clicking on this link:
West Rockhill Township operates a Municipal Stormwater System (MSS) that is permitted by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP). This Permit requires that the Township:
- Continue public education and outreach activities
- Notify and solicit public input and involvement regarding management of the stormwater system
- Monitor, test and eliminate illicit discharges from outfalls (stormwater exiting pipes into the waterways) in the system
- Control construction site stormwater runoff through enforcement of ordinances
- Ensure that all post-construction stormwater improvements in new or re-developed areas are built as designed and are operated and maintained properly
- Implement a pollution prevention program for municipal operations
This webpage is offered to educate residents about stormwater regulations, potential water pollution or flooding as a result of our local activities in the watershed. Nearly all of our Township newsletters have included an article about stormwater in the last five years or more as part of the PA DEP MSS Permit "public education" process. Township and commercial development construction activities are monitored by the Township Engineer.
What is Stormwater and Why Is It So Important?
Stormwater runoff is generated when precipitation from rain and snow melt events flow over land and impervioussurfaces and does not infiltrate into the ground. The runoff from streets, lawns, farms and construction and industrial sites picks up fertilizers, dirt, chemicals, pesticides, oil, grease and many other pollutants and discharges it into our steams and rivers. This untreated discharge is detrimental to our water quality as it can adversely affect our drinking water supply and the environment. In West Rockhill Township, polluted stormwater could contaminate the East Branch Perkiomen Creek, the Butter Creek, the Ridge Valley Creek, or the Quakertown Swamp.
Many Best Management Practices (BMPs), such as detention or infiltration basins, are already in place to help keep our waters clean. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website is a good place to visit for stormwater information and regulations:
Or, the PA DEP website Stormwater Management Program link at http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/stormwater_management/21377
What Does the Township Do to Regulate Stormwater?
The Township enforces Stormwater Ordinance No. 209. To download a copy, use this link: West Rockhill Township Ordinance 209 Stormwater.
West Rockhill Township regulates stormwater management through a permit that is obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) (www.depweb.state.pa.us) through the National Pollution and Discharge Elimination System Phase II (NPDES)/Municipals Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4). This is a federal requirement from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) (http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/stormwater/munic.cfm?program_id=6) that is administered by the PA DEP.
The Township also requires a Stormwater Management Plan Review if the stormwater management project is not part of a formal Land Development.
How Can Residents Help?
There are many ways you can help the Township with its stormwater program and participate in activities and programs that will keep pollutants, chemicals, trash, and other waste products out of our waterways. Please read these tips for your lawn & garden. Solution to Pollution is from the EPA.
Residents can can help by watching for:
• Sediment leaving a construction site via stormwater runoff
• Spills (chemical, gas, oil)
• Illegal dumping activity into streams or storm sewers (PLEASE CALL 911 FIRST)
• Dry weather flows from outfall pipes into streams (at least 72 hours after a rain storm)
Residents may be the first to recognize "illicit" discharges dumping into storm sewers or coming out of/from storm sewer outfalls. If you see an "illicit" discharge please report it by calling the T ownship office at 215-257-9063 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays, or email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Take photos, if possible.
Things You and Your Community Can Do to Protect Water Resources
Disconnect your downspout from the the street drain and Plant a Rain Garden.
Rainwater from your roof is just as damaging to creeks and streams as run off from a parking lot. Let your yard help filter out impurities and infiltrate stormwater back into your aquifer. If you don't have street drains, be certain stormwater coming through your downspouts is directed onto your own property and not into the road, road ditch, or a neighbor's property. Consider disconnecting your downspouts and installing rain barrels instead. They can provide water for your gardens. Or, install a rain garden, as the Township has. Please stop by the Township building for ideas or consult the rain garden publications at the bottom of this page. The Bucks County Conservation District supports the construction of rain gardens and put out this Rain Garden pamphlet.
Maintain open, forested floodplains.
Filling floodplains shortchanges the filtering power of natural areas and increases flooding elsewhere. It is also illegal.
Plant trees and maintain streamside buffers
Streamside trees and native vegetation help filter stormwater run off and help hold streambank soils in place. DEP recently enacted a 75' buffer along streams to enhance water quality and reduce stormwater runoff. Use Best Management Practices to protect your stream buffer. http://www.delawareriverkeeper.org/Pdf/DRNs_20Ways_to_Protect_Streams_2011.pdf
Maintain a naturally vegetated edge between creeks and pastures or cultivated fields.
A naturally vegetated stream buffer will filter out excess fertilizers and pesticides from adjacent farm fields.
Promote clustering where new development is likely.
Clustered developments require less pavement for roads and sidewalks, and retain more of the overall parcel as open space.
Reduce your use of fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides
Follow directions for weed killers and pesticides very carefully, or consider discontinuing their use. Much of the chemicals and fertilizers you apply in the spring flow directly into the local creeks and seep into ground waters because the grass is not ready to absorb it. Set your mower height at 3 inches and use a mulching mower to create a healthy, organic lawn. Fertilize only in the fall. Consider grasscycling.
Never dump household substances or used oil into a storm drain.
Bring used oil to certified recycling facilities.
Convert large yards or public spaces from mown grass to meadows.
The typical suburban lawn is nearly as impervious as a parking lot! Native meadow grasses infiltrate stormwater better and provide critical habitat for grassland birds. Consider converting a portion of your lawn into a meadow with paths through it to observe the wildlife.
Pick up after your pets and keep livestock out of streams.
Pet and animal wastes carry many harmful bacteria and possible diseases. They make creeks less amenable to native critters and require expensive water treatment for human use. Studies by the Center for Watershed Protection have found that a significant portion of fecal coliform bacteria in residential stormwater originates from canine waste.
Keep paved surfaces to a minimum.
Reduce impervious surfaces. Patios and parking spaces can be created with attractive pervious materials that allow stormwater infiltration to the soils below.
Consult our watershed website: www.perkiomenwatershed.org/
Clean Water and the Business Community
WRT encourages our business community to practice Best Management Practices:
Contractors, please be sure you are in compliance with state mandated stormwater regulations by reading these publications:
Please read and download the educational information provided in the links and also available at the bottom of this page.
More Ways to Get Involved
Great Pennsylvania CleanUp
Each spring, West Rockhill Township participates in the Great PA Clean Up in conjunction with Earth Day with our own community Clean Up Day in mid-April. Teams from around the Township clean up the roadsides with free bags and gloves provided by Penn DOT. The Board of Supervisors also awards a savings bond to randomly drawn participants. In recent years, the Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy has also offered a stream cleanup along the East Branch Perkiomen Creek on the same day as the Township Clean Up Day. Please check the Announcement section of this website or our bi-annual newsletters for more information on the Township Clean Up Day and how you can create a team. Please visit the website for the Great PA Cleanup for more information: www.GreatPACleanup.org and visit the Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy website for stream clean up information and excellent stormwater information: www.perkiomenwatershed.org/
West Rockhill Township Watershed Award
West Rockhill Township won the 2010 Municipal Award from the Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy for our efforts to improve the Perkiomen Watershed through land conservation, our rain garden project, and participation in the Perkiomen Watershed Stream Clean up yearly event. For additional information, please visit the Conservation Committee page to learn about the 1,487 acres of riparian buffer forests, upland woodlands, meadows, farms and active recreation space put into preservation by the Township since 2003.