NEWS

ONLY RAIN IN OUR STORM DRAINS

One of the biggest questions being asked in the Town of Star City is "Why is the rain backing up and not going down the storm drains fast enough?"

The amount of water a pipe can handle is a function of the diameter of the pipe, the type of line, the grade of the line, and the number of turns or other restrictions on the line. Most of Star City's Stormwater System is between thirty to fifty years old and the amount of land now covered by 'impervious' surfaces (roofs, parking lots, paved areas, patios, and other surfaces that allow water to run off at a fast rate) has increased tremendously. This causes stormwater to enter the lines more quickly and with a much greater volume. In addition, climate changes have affected the amount and duration of precipitation this area receives in a given time period. For example, when a line is already at full capacity, water begins backing up in the lines and filling the inlets. As the inlets fill, water backs up into the street. With so much impervious area, there just isn't anywhere for the water to go. If precipitation continues, the water level in the street rises and causes flooding. The town's goal is to restrict the amount of run-off being discharged into the stormwater system during storm events in order to prevent flooding.

Star City is considering changes to the existing Stormwater Ordinances which will require new and re-development or modification projects to obtain a Stormwater Permit before being granted a Building Permit. This Stormwater Permit would require residential projects over 1000 square feet and commercial projects over 3000 square feet of impervious area within a lot to install a stormwater detention system. These stormwater detention systems hold water run-off and discharge it into the stormwater system at a reduced rate over a longer period of time, which takes some of the burden off existing line capacities.

Areas currently experiencing flooding problems are being investigated and possible solutions are being engineered. Some areas may require a capital expenditure by the town to repair a flooding problem.

An Illicit Discharge Ordinance is also being considered. This would provide appropriate enforcement procedures to stop illicit discharge into the stormwater system.

How Can We Reduce Run-Off (or at least slow it down)?


Most of the roof systems in Star City are steeply pitched so as to direct run-off into gutters that drain to ground level. This adds speed and volume to the flow of water leaving the roof. Most of these downspouts are connected directly to the town's stormwater system. If this flow can be reduced or slowed down, it will reduce the load on the system. If flow from downspouts enters a grassed or vegetated area, the flow is slowed down significantly. Plants use some of the water and their root systems allow more of the water to soak into the ground before it has a chance to enter the stormwater system. A vegetated swale, bio-retention basin, or rain garden are all ways to slow down run-off, as well as reduce pollutants and thermal impacts reaching the stormwater system. These types of areas can be used on run-off from parking lots, patios, sidewalks, and other impervious areas. Porous pavement or pavers can also be used to reduce the flow and, in some cases, reduce the amount of stormwater detention needed for an improvement or new construction.

A rain barrel at the end of a downspout is an excellent way to reduce run-off into the system, with the added bonus of "free" water that can be used on flowers, vegetable gardens, and other outside chores needing water. A screen over the barrel will keep the water free of debris and ready to be used on flowers and vegetables.

A rainwater harvesting system can reduce the city water and sewage bill. This type of system collects water from the downspouts and deposits it into a cistern, which can be plumbed back into the house and used for flushing toilets, irrigating landscaping, cold water for laundry, and other cleaning purposes. As sewage bills are calculated on the amount of water coming through the water meter, any use of this cisterned water would save on the amount charged for both water and sewage. Help the environment, save money, and take some of the burden off the town's stormwater system.

The Town of Star City is looking for feedback from our residents. If enough interest is shown, workshops can be arranged to provide more information about the systems discussed here. Vendors could also be invited to demonstrate products and services.

Below is a list of things that will help protect Area Streams and the Monongahela River

Don’t litter: place in trash can and recycle when possible. Litter and debris can cause storm drain blockage that le ads to flooding, impaired water quality, and hazards to wildlife.

Clean up pet waste to reduce harmful bacteria, parasites, and viruses in streams. Pick up and bag pet waste and place it in the garbage.

Properly Manage Yard Waste: grass clippings, leaves, and garden debris should be reused as mulch or put in a compost pile. Use a composting mower that will grind grass and leaves that will stay on the yard and add nutrients. WVU Ag Department offers a mulch program at its animal farm on Stewartstown Road. Call 304-293-7092 for details.

Use fertilizers and other yard chemicals in accordance with manufacturer’s recommendations or use a natural alternative. Do not apply when rain is expected and never pour down a storm drain, manhole, toilet, or household sink. Take unused fertilizers and chemicals to an approved disposal site - check with the Mon. County Solid Waste Authority for more information.

Minimize Salt use and other de-icing material - use limestone chips for traction - sweep up residual materials and dispose of properly.

Don’t wash your car in the driveway - it drains soap, oil, dirt, and engine grease into local waterways. Wash the car in the grass or take to a commercial car wash. Most facilities recycle their water and excess water goes in the sanitary system.

Recycle waste motor oil: Town of Star City will take your old oil - call the city garage (304-599-2818) for drop off details or leave your name & number so the Public Works Department can contact you.

Recycle glass, plastic, aluminum and steel cans, cardboard, and newspapers/magazines. Star City has recycle drop off bins at Town Hall; bins can also be found at both Wal-Mart locations and at the Mon County Community Recycling Center off River Road.

Recycle other household/automotive materials contact the Mon County Solid Waste Authority (304-292-3801) or check the following web sites: Morgantown Recycling or

WV State Stormwater Site

BE the Neighborhood Watch
for any illegal or suspicious dumping into our storm drains, streams, or the river and report it to Star City Town Hall.

Any spills of dangerous chemicals, flammable chemicals, or oil spills over 18” in diameter call 911 to report.

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