What is stormwater and why does it matter?
Stormwater is the runoff that occurs over land, roads, parking lots, and other surfaces during and after rain. If it rains hard enough, water cannot be absorbed into the ground and instead flows over the surface, where it picks up dirt and pollutants. These materials can be harmful to the water quality in these sensitive water bodies. Stormwater drains and ditches along the roadside are meant to control the flow of stormwater and keep it from picking tp too many harmful materials.

What is an "impervious surface?"
Impervious surfaces include streets, parking lots, driveways, sidewalks, and buildings. These impenetrable surfaces prevent runoff waters from naturally infiltrating into the groundwater system. 

What is an illicit discharge?
An illicit discharge is defined as any discharge to the municipal separate storm sewer system that is not composed entirely of storm water, except for discharges allowed under a NPDES permit or waters used for firefighting operations. Examples include:

  • Chlorinated swimming pool / hot tub water
  • Yard wastes including leaves and grass clipping
  • Pet wastes
  • RV sewage tanks
  • Vehicle fluids
  • Acid from washing boats
  • Leaking dumpsters
  • Leaking septic systems
  • Fats, oils, greases

What should I do if I suspect an illicit discharge?
Contact local municipal officials or Soil & Water Conservation District to verify and identify the potential discharge. Keep in mind that Conservation Districts are not regulatory authorities, but can notify the DEC if the issue violates water quality regulations.

  • See the "Who We Are" link to locate your local Highway or Municipal Contact Information
  • Ontario County Soil & Water Conservation District: (585) 396 - 1450
  • Wayne County Soil & Water Conservation District: (315) 946 - 7200

What is "green infrastructure?"
Green infrastructure uses vegetation, soils, and natural processes to manage water and create healthier urban environments. At the scale of a city or county, green infrastructure refers to the patchwork or natural areas that provides habitat, flood protection, cleaner air, and cleaner water. 

What is considered a "Water of the United States?"
The 1986/1988 regulatory definition includes all waters located in the US such as lakes, rivers, streams (including intermittent streams and tributaries), wetlands, artificial and natural ponds, and even mudflats and sandflats. 

What is "sustainability?"
Sustainability can best be described as meeting the needs of the present without sacrificing the needs of the future. A perfectly sustainable alternative should meet the three major pillars of sustainability; people (social criteria), planet (environmental criteria), and profit (economic criteria).

How does the coalition play a role in sustainability?
Maintaining and facilitating best stormwater management practices promotes environmental health, enables a clean and aesthetically pleasing area for people to live in and interact, and has the potential to save costly cleanups or repairs from potential floods, pollution, and wastewater treatment plant problems.