STORMWATER POLLUTION PREVENTION
The University of Colorado Colorado Springs community includes students, faculty, staff, and all visitors to the campus. The campus community may not always be aware of their potential impact on the campus environment and surrounding areas. Stormwater can have a wide impact on the campus and eventually all nearby waterways that flow into Monument Creek and Fountain Creek.
Stormwater runoff occurs when precipitation from rain or snowmelt flows over the ground without sinking in. Impervious surfaces like roofs, parking lots and sidewalks prevent the stormwater from naturally soaking into the ground. As stormwater runoff flows over pedestrian walkways, landscaped areas, roadways and parking lots, it picks up debris, chemicals, dirt, and other pollutants.
It is important to remember that anything entering a storm sewer system is discharged untreated into waterbodies that are used for recreation and eventual drinking water. Polluted runoff is the nation's greatest threat to clean water. The resulting stream or river pollution can have a great effect on the aquatic life in all bodies of water.
By practicing health pollution prevention habits, campus users can keep pollutants like dirt and common garbage that collect on paved areas from being washed into storm drains.
STORMWATER REGULATORY COMPLIANCE
The University of Colorado Colorado Springs campus is required to comply with regulations of the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE), National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), and other regulatory agencies in regard to protecting against illicit campus discharges of pollutants to storm and surface water conveyances (such as storm drains, parking lot runoff, gutters, etc., which lead directly to creeks and rivers). Illicit discharges include, but are not limited to, any discharge that is not composed entirely of stormwater.
Some examples of an illicit discharge (stormwater pollution) include:
- Sediment generated by construction activities that can be washed into the storm sewer system.
- Construction waste and litter that can be washed into the storm sewer system if not picked up on a regular basis.
- Improper disposal of liquids such as cleaning solutions, laboratory chemicals, or other liquid wastes that can leak out of solid waste containers and drain with stormwater into the storm sewer system.
- Chemicals that may spill as a result of accidents during loading or unloading at shipping and receiving locations and/or spills of fuel that can occur during the filling of equipment at storage tanks.
- Fertilizers and pesticides used in maintaining the landscaped grounds during the summer months may adversely affect water quality if application rates and timing of applications are inappropriate or if spills of these chemicals occur and are not properly contained and cleaned up.
- Deicer chemicals, salt, and sand used on the streets and parking areas during the winter months may be carried to the storm sewer system when snow, accumulated in piles during routine snow removal activities, melts.
The Facilities Department oversees and enforces these efforts on campus, including the administration of a campus-wide Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Permit. This permit requires documentation and reporting of campus efforts to promote environmental stewardship related to protection of storm conveyances and surface waters in the following categories: Public Education & Outreach, Public Participation & Involvement; Illicit Discharge Detection & Elimination; Construction Site Runoff Control; Post-Construction Stormwater Management; and Pollution Prevention/Good Housekeeping.
As part of this effort, everyone on the UCCS campus is responsible for following the policies regarding proper management and disposal of waste. These materials must never be poured down drains or placed in the trash. Such actions are environmentally unsound, prohibited by law, and subject to fines and criminal actions. All incidents involving release of hazardous materials to sewer systems or the environment must be reported immediately by calling the Department of Public Safety 3111 or (719) 255-3111, or to the Facilities Department at (719) 255-3313.
The Facilities Department identifies areas of concern related to storm drains, and works diligently to remediate situations that could lead to illicit discharges. This includes providing appropriate oversight for construction activities, sediment clean up after storm events, environmental spill clean-up, etc.
Contractors who are involved with construction projects on campus must comply with all applicable regulations regarding stormwater protection. The below link outlines the UCCS Project Stormwater Requirements. Inquiries, comments, or concerns related to the campus stormwater management program can be addressed by contacting the Facilities Department at (719) 255-3313.