Stormwater management includes involving all residents and property owners in Chapel Hill in learning about our local water resources, how we affect water quality and flooding potential, and what we can do to minimize pollution and damage.
We travel to festivals and fairs with our education booth, make classroom presentations; give presentations to community organizations; welcome volunteers in our storm drain marking campaign, stream monitoring program, and stream clean ups; work with homeowners and the business community to promote best management practices; and bring awareness to water quality and flooding issues through the media.
If you are interested in presentations, volunteer opportunities, or other aspects of this program, please contact Stormwater Management at (919) 969-RAIN (7246) or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Town’s Stormwater Management staff offers:
Technical assistance to teachers and school officials
We visit Chapel Hill schools with a variety of programs, scheduling primarily through the elementary schools’ science coordinators and science teachers on the high school and middle school levels. Programs are also given for after school groups.
We involve students in water quality and stream ecology projects and presentations, NC Big Sweep and other litter cleanups, and with storm drain labeling. A School Stormwater Patrol is offered at schools wanting to participate. Each school receives rain gauges for monitoring amounts of rainfall, safety vests and supplies to label all storm drains on the school campus. They also receive contour maps of their school, a Schoolyard Grade Card, and assistance in identifying remedial action for areas with erosion and drainage problems. Student participants earn Town of Chapel Hill Stormwater Stream Team wristbands and Stormwater Patrol certificates.
Through the use of the EnviroScape, a hands on watershed model, students and teachers review best management practices to prevent pollution, like maintaining buffers along streams, using other erosion control measures, taking thoughtful care of yards and homes, and picking up after pets.
The Stormwater Division office also serves as a site for high school service learning and internships.
Storm Drain Marking
Storm drains quickly route rain and melting snow into vegetated areas or creeks, preventing or minimizing flooding. This water is not treated, but flows directly into creeks or drainage areas, taking pollutants with it.
Stormwater that flows from our roofs, yards, driveways, and streets, carry sediment, pesticides, fertilizers, pet wastes, litter, oil and other automobile fluids. If people allow detergents or chlorine from power washing or car washing to go into the street, those chemicals also flow directly into the creeks through the storm sewer system. Therefore, residents should make sure that any outside wash water flows into a vegetated area where plants and soil can act as filters; that pet wastes are picked up, wrapped and thrown into the trash; and that lawn care chemicals are properly applied or alternatives found. During leaf season, leaves should be composted or used for mulch around trees and shrubs. If raked to the street for leaf collection, leaves should be placed above the curb instead of in the street. This helps to minimize blockage of the drains and reduces the amount of nutrients going to our creeks.
ONLY RAIN DOWN THE STORM DRAIN!
Storm drains must be kept clear of debris. It is prohibited for any substances or objects to be poured into, or placed into, storm drains. The Town maintains storm drains on public rights-of-way. Property owners are responsible for maintaining drains on private property.
Streets in new developments are required to have pre-cast iron curb inlet hoods and manhole covers. Volunteers are adhering markers, like that shown to the left, to older storm drains in neighborhoods, parks, and at schools. Residents receive a door hanger which gives them tips for keeping waterways clean.
Triangle J Council of Governments' Clean Water Education Partnership (CWEP), of which the Town of Chapel Hill is a member and active participant, provides a budget and staffing to help educate the public about the importance of watershed stewardship. CWEP television, cinema and radio spots, CWEP campaign statistics and additional media resources may be found here.
Got Creek? Rules for Use & Maintenance of Streamside Land
Annual Fall and Spring Litter Cleanups Need YOU!
Year-round cleanups may be scheduled by request.
The Town of Chapel Hill sponsors annual spring and fall litter cleanups in our community's watersheds. Here's how you can participate!
Choose a scheduled event, or identify an area that you are concerned about, then call to register yourself and/or your group to clean it up! The area does not need to be directly in or along a creek or stream; most storm drains lead directly to creeks, so by cleaning up roads, you are helping to prevent the litter from reaching waterways!
Groups wanting to adopt a stream area, or to clean up litter throughout the year, may contact Stormwater Management at 919-969-7246. Supplies, maps and data sheets will be provided.
In addition to checking this page for future cleanups, Like and Follow the Town of Chapel Hill's Stormwater Management Facebook page to learn about opportunities to get involved in nurturing our watersheds and community.
Thank you to the Scouts and citizens who are independently tackling littered areas around town and along streams, collecting the trash before it reaches Jordan Lake. We encourage everyone who walks or bikes to pick up and properly dispose of litter that they may see. Picking up just one piece of litter per day per person can make a huge difference! If you'd like, take a selfie and send it to us for posting on Facebook! Fran DiGiano, cofounder of Clean Jordan Lake, estimates that TWO TONS of trash wash into the drinking water and recreation reservoir from its vast watershed with every storm of one inch or more. YIKES! You can help!
And REMEMBER: "Gotta put a bottle in the bin!!" RECYCLE your empty, clean cans and bottles at home, at work, and when traveling!
Volunteering to monitor streams is a way for residents to contribute to clean water and healthier streams through citizen science.
The purposes of this program are to:
Connect citizen scientists and residents with their watersheds and local government;
Allow residents and students to contribute to caring for our waterways in a responsible and beneficial manner;
Encourage residents to report out-of-the-ordinary situations that may help to reduce pollution, erosion and illicit discharges;
Train volunteers to collect data, that when combined with the Town’s formal stream monitoring activities (USGS gages, macroinvertebrate counts/biological assessments, watershed studies), will contribute to a more holistic evaluation of the state of our streams;
Fulfill elements of the volunteer monitoring recommendations in Chapel Hill’s Stormwater Management Master Plan and Bolin Creek Watershed Plan.
Three Levels for Volunteer Commitment & Training:
1) Stream Walkers: Complete Habitat Assessment each summer and visual assessments at least four times per year; once during each season. Record temperature and conductivity. Pick up trash as needed.
2) Stream Team Monitors: (above duties + testing for Nitrate, Phosphorus, Dissolved Oxygen, pH, Turbidity)
3) Watershed Stream Team Leader: Either #1 or #2 above, plus labeling and checking storm drains emptying into stream/creek, conducting neighborhood walks for pollution sources, and suggesting water quality improvement projects and practices for the neighborhood to consider.
The Chapel Hill Stream Team Monitoring Program is based largely on Wisconsin's Water Action Volunteers Citizen Stream Monitoring Program.