Stormwater: Keep It Clean! Slow It Down! Soak It In!
Stormwater is water from rain and melting snow and ice. Stormwater can soak into the soil, be held on the surface and evaporate or run off and end up in a nearby stream, river, lake or wetland. The major purpose of stormwater management is to improve the quality and reduce the quantity of stormwater leaving the site.
Other goals of stormwater management include protecting our environment; reducing flooding; reducing flow on adjacent properties; supporting healthy streams and rivers; and decreasing damage to transportation and utility infrastructure.
Not only does West Whiteland Township have a comprehensive Stormwater Management Ordinance that contains stormwater management standards and regulations, but there is also a county-wide Stormwater Management Plan for Chester County. We take stormwater management seriously and we hope you do too.
Stormwater and Development
We know people have mixed emotions about the amount of development in the Township in the past few years. We have sought to educate the public on the intricacies of the development process and how it relates to transportation (traffic), open space and economic vitality. With the severe storms we are experiencing more frequently, more residents are asking about the impact of development on flooding and stormwater management.
Has the development in the Township contributed to increased flooding? While it might seem logical that developed land would create more rainwater runoff accumulation issues, the Township has taken steps to ensure that the opposite is true. West Whiteland implemented a Stormwater Ordinance (Chapter 270 of the Township ordinances) in 2004 and has updated it twice since then, to ensure the that new development plans include the following:
- erosion and sediment controls during construction,
- installation of stormwater Best Management Practices to capture and detain 100-year storm events, and
- an on-going maintenance and operation agreement to ensure the facilities function permanently into the future.
Prior to any work commencing, developers are required to submit a Stormwater Management Plan for approval by the Township Engineer and the Chester County Conservation District (as applicable). This ensures that all new development, redevelopment, and earth disturbance activities within the Township are designed and constructed in accordance with the Stormwater Management Ordinance.
The result? The newer developments have significantly better stormwater management facilities than those constructed prior to 2004; the new development is actually improving the situation. The larger problem is that we are experiencing more frequent intense storms, such as those this past summer, that are overwhelming older properties’ systems and creating a strain even on the new systems.
There are many ways that you can help project our stormwater!
Check out DEPs resource "Homeowners Guide to Stormwater BMP Maintenance".
Practice healthy household habits for your lawn and vehicle!
- Plant a rain garden
- If you fertilize your lawn, follow the directions on the bag and use sparingly. Rain washes fertilizer along the curb, into the storm drain and directly into our lakes and streams.
- Wash your car on grass or gravel instead of the street. Better yet, take it to a car wash where the water gets treated and recycled.When you wash your car in your driveway, the soap, scum and oily grit run along the curb, into the storm drain and into our bodies of water.
- Fix oil leaks on your vehicle immediately.Leaking oil goes from car to street to storm drain to local waterways.
- Dispose of pet waste properly - preferably in the toilet. Rain washes pet waste and bacteria into our storm drains and pollutes our waterways.