Storm water run off is regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); a special permit is required for cities so that the EPA can regulate storm water runoff to monitor for potential pollutants. Storm water is piped into local streams and creeks so it is imperative that the storm drains remain as clear as possible of any debris.
The Street Department Crews work diligently year round to eliminate as much debris as possible from entering the storm drains. They start sweeping up the sand used during the winter months as soon as all the snow has melted from the streets. This year we are starting the project in the subdivisions on April 2nd and then moving to the core area on April 16th. We do ask that people not park on the streets on the days we are scheduled to be in their area.
Storm drains are monitored bi-annually to check for any repairs that may be needed. We check the channel, the culvert and the screens in the spring; any repairs needed are logged, then the repairs are made throughout the summer. We will go back out in the fall to check for any new repairs that may be needed. Storm drains are designed to have a catch basin at the bottom to catch any debris that may get in there. The run off pipes are set higher in the drain in an effort to have just the water go into the pipe. The crew will go out and do what we call Storm Water Flushing which is using a vacuum truck to suck out any debris that is sitting at the bottom of the basin.
Any damaged storm drains are repaired by the Street Department crews. Some of the storm drains are 100 years old in the core area of the city. Some of the storm drains in the city are made from clay tile; the picture to the right is of a damaged line. If they are not kept clean there is the potential of the lines breaking or plugging which could cause flooding.
There are over 12,000 public owned trees located along boulevards, in city parks, and in the Sunset Hills Cemetery. In order to keep the storm drains clear of the falling leaves from the boulevard trees we do a Fall Cleanup Leaf Project. Since we are going to be cleaning up the leaves any way this is the time of year that we encourage residents in the core area, where the drains are smaller and older, to rake their leaves into the street and we will pick them up at the same time. This project usually starts in November and goes until we are done or when the snow flies which ever comes first.
If you are interested in more of regulations and pollutants that the EPA looks for you can view the City of Bozeman Engineering site regarding storm water management.