Understanding the effects of stormwater pollution and how to prevent it.
What is stormwater?
Whenever it rains or snows, some of the water will soak into the ground or evaporate off the roads. However, most of the water will run off to another location and gather dirt, debris and other pollutants along the way.
This is what is considered “stormwater” and it can cause serious damage to waterways and wildlife.
This page will walk you through the effects of stormwater and what you can do to prevent it.
Stormwater ponds are designed to contain or filter out pollutants in run off water.
There are two types of stormwater ponds.
- Dry ponds, which only contain water after a rain/storm event, and
- Wet ponds, which contain water throughout the year. This is the most common type of stormwater pond.
Wet ponds allow the sediment/pollutants to settle at the bottom of the pond, making it easier to properly dispose of the pollutants at a later time.
How do stormwater ponds work?
Stormwater ponds contain dams that hold the water into the pond. After a period of time, the sediment/pollutants settles out. The water will then be released over the course of several days to help prevent flooding downstream.
Why are stormwater ponds important?
Stormwater ponds are important for many reasons.
- Helps keep waters designed for recreation safe for use.
- Provides flood control.
- Serves as a habitat for wildlife.
- Increases property values.
- Aesthetically pleasing.
Maintaining stormwater ponds
If a stormwater pond is located on private property, the owner of the property is responsible for maintaining the area. Most landscaping companies are familiar with the necessary treatments and upkeep stormwater ponds need, as many property owners contract work with them.
If a property owner chooses not to contract the work, the following can be used as a checklist when performing maintenance on the pond.
- Mow the grass around the pond at least twice per year.
- Remove all trees and woody vegetation in/around the pond at least twice per year.
- Inspect the pond before and after every major storm event.
- Treat the basin for mosquito larvae if water remains stagnant for 72+ hours.
- Remove trash and other debris from areas in and around the pond.
- Know the pollutant sources on the property.
- Seed, cover areas around pond to prevent erosion.
- Repair broken mechanical components, if needed.
- Educate children about safety near and around ponds.
If a stormwater pond is not maintained:
- Sediment could accumulate. This could reduce the storage volume of the pond and could lead to flooding downstream.
- The dam could break, causing flooding and safety concerns for nearby residents.
- A large mosquito population could be generated.
- Invasive plants could take over.
- Repair costs could increase if left unchecked.
Post-construction maintenance plan
If a stormwater pond is one-acre or more and built after October 2020, a post-construction maintenance plan should have been developed.
This plan identifies which stormwater controls are installed onsite and how they will be maintained.
Property owners in need of a post-construction maintenance plan can contact the Building Department at 870-246-1818.
Illicit discharge is the disposal of any substance that is not stormwater into a stormwater system.
This is illegal and could increase risk to the three (3) endangered mussels species that live in the Ouachita River.
- Dumping motor oil, paint or other hazardous waste into a catch basin.
- Leaving spilled contaminants such as oil or gasoline that will wash into a stormwater system when it rains.
- Placing lawn clippings, pine needles, leaves or other yard waste into a stormwater system, or in a location that leads to a stormwater system.
- Allowing wash water from a car wash to enter a storm drain.
- Connecting basement drains to stormwater systems.
Everyone knows cigarette butts are litter. Butts that a flicked, dropped or thrown on the ground do not disappear. Most of the time, they end up in storm drains that lead right into the Ouachita River.
Once in the river, aquatic life and other animals may mistake cigarette butts for food. This is incredibly dangerous.
Residents looking for a service project should consider hosting a cigarette butt pick-up day.
Picking up cigarette butts helps to:
- Remove harmful waste form natural areas.
- Protect waterways and aquatic life.
- Protect pets and wildlife from mistaking cigarette butts for food.
- Keep birds from using the plastic filters found in cigarette butts as nesting materials.
- Reduce wildfires.