As a city, we’re making an investment in sustainable wet weather management to protect our waterways.
We want our efforts to last for a long time and that means we must invest in maintaining our stormwater solutions, too. Thanks to stormwater utility funding, we can be more proactive in keeping our stormwater infrastructure healthy and doing its job for years and years to come.
Cleaner Streets, Cleaner Water
When it rains, storm drains on our streets give water a place to go. Unfortunately, it’s not just stormwater that rushes down these drains — it’s also trash, chemicals, bacteria and gasoline. That’s why studies show regular street sweeping is so important. When streets are clean, there’s less chance of pollutants entering our stormwater system. Right now, we only sweep city streets twice a year. With stormwater utility funding, we can afford to sweep more frequently — as often as once a month during the warm season.
The Importance of Inlets
Just as important as clean streets are clean inlets. They collect excess stormwater and move it into storm drains. (In some cases, they also provide access to our storm drain system for maintenance.) When inlets are clogged with debris or in disrepair, they can’t handle the volume of water and our streets flood as a result. Funds from the stormwater utility will help us keep inlets clean and in working order.
Equipped for the Job
Streets and inlets don’t clean themselves. It takes the right equipment to keep our stormwater infrastructure in good shape. In addition to the backhoes, skid steer loaders and other machines we use for maintenance, we plan to invest in more street sweepers as well as a regenerative air sweeper for permeable pavements. Hands-on work is important, too — our crew will be tasked with replacing dead plants, laying down mulch and making sure our green infrastructure is functioning as designed.
Eyes on Our Infrastructure
Keeping a close eye on mile after mile of streets and sewers is a never-ending task. Ongoing inspections are the best way to ensure our stormwater infrastructure is doing its job — and to catch small issues before they turn into big, expensive problems. Funding from the stormwater utility will allow us to be more strategic and proactive in our inspection process.
Protecting Against Pollution
Stormwater utility funding will also play a big role in helping us protect local waterways and wildlife. Under our current Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination Program, citizens can report pollution issues, which our Public Works department then inspects and addresses. Erosion control best practices — like silt or plastic fences used on construction projects — help keep dust and dirt on site and out of our waterways.