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Help to keep our local waterways clean!

Diagram of Water Cycle (Source: EPA)Where does rainwater go when it hits the ground? If it falls on a vegetated surface such as your yard, a garden, or a forest, most of the water is absorbed by the soil or plants and is returned to the water cycle (see link below). If it falls on an impervious surface such as a road or a driveway, it runs off to local streams and waterways.

Stormwater can be defined as rainwater plus anything that it carries. In urban areas such as Salem, rainfall can transport a multitude of pollutants to our streams and waterways. Water that flows into storm drains on the streets, flows directly into our urban streams.

In general, poor water quality can be linked to either point source pollutants or nonpoint source pollutants. Understanding these terms is the first step in learning current regulations, conditions, and how your daily activities can impact water quality in our local streams.

Example of point source pollutant.  Simply put, point source pollutants are those pollutants that can be traced back to the pipe or one single source. For example, polluted water discharged from a factory pipe into a local waterway would be a point source pollutant. Most people believe that poor water quality is primarily the result of point source pollutants.

Example of nonpoint source pollutant.  Nonpoint source pollutants come from a variety of sources, not from a single pipe. Examples: (1) soil washed into a stream by rainwater; (2) oil and grease washed off a driveway and into the storm system; (3) an increase in water temperature due to a lack of riparian vegetation; and (4) animal waste carried to the stream through runoff. The largest source of water pollution in Oregon's waterways comes from nonpoint sources.

How much rainwater (stormwater) can be delivered to local waterways? One inch of rain falling on one acre of the earth’s surface is equal to about 27,154 gallons of water! Of course not all of that water ends up in local streams, but it's easy to see how much stormwater and pollutants can reach our waterways.

What can you do to help?

  1. Sweep gutters and driveways rather than using the hose to remove debris.
  2. Use the minimum amount of detergent (low phosphate is best) for washing your car. Wash car on grass or gravel, or take your car to a carwash that recycles their water.
  3. Clean up after your pets.
  4. Keep your car in good working order to avoid leaks and don't work on your car where oil or grease can wash into the gutter.
  5. Build paths and driveways out of pervious material such as gravel.
  6. Replant bare slopes and unvegetated areas with native species. You can learn about native species and about other ways you can help prevent stormwater pollution from our Clean Streams, Clear Choices program.

 Stormwater Permit/Planning

FINAL_ms4_annual report_2016.pdf2016FY 2015-16 NPDES MS4 Annual Report15561 KB
Proposed TMDL Implementation Plan_2016.pdf2016Proposed TMDL Implementation Plan1267 KB
NPDES MS4 Permit Renewal Application Package_ADA-Review.pdf20152015 NPDES MS4 Permit Renewal Application9501 KB
FINAL_ms4_annual_report_2015.pdf2015FY 2014-15 NPDES MS4 Annual Report14426 KB
Final Combined Report 2014.pdf2014FY 2013-14 NPDES MS4 Annual Report5500 KB
Final Combined Report 2013.pdf2013FY 2012-13 NPDES MS4 Annual Report12636 KB
2012_NPDES_MS4_AnnualReport.pdf2012FY 2011-12 NPDES MS4 Annual Report13008 KB
Final MS4 Annual Report 2011.pdf2011FY 2010-11 NPDES MS4 Annual Report9450 KB
Salem_MS4_PER_2010.12.30.PDF20102010 Permit Evaluation Report5379 KB
2010 SWMP_Final.pdf20102010 Stormwater Management Plan251 KB
Salem_MS4Permit_2010.12.30.PDF20102010-2015 MS4 Permit4268 KB
2004_2009_NPDESMS4_Salem.PDF20092004-2009 MS4 Permit4253 KB
swmp_all_sec.pdfStormwater Master Plan563 KB
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