“Only rain down the drain”
Hendersonville’s Stormwater Management Program works to preserve, protect, and restore the quality of water in the streams, rivers, and lakes within the City of Hendersonville. The City’s Stormwater Management program was developed in compliance with the Federal Clean Water act and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality to ensure that stormwater is effectively controlled in order to reduce pollution generated from stormwater runoff.
The City of Hendersonville is a federally designated National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Phase II community and operates under the authority of the Stormwater Management Program which became effective in August of 2007 after being drafted into the city’s Code of Ordinances and operates as a division of the Engineering Department. NPDES Phase II is a federal and state mandated program under the Clean Water Act to address non-point source pollution or stormwater runoff. The City’s NPDES Permit consists of six management areas that reduce stormwater pollution and assures clean water is maintained in our city’s water bodies:
- Public Outreach and Education
- Public Involvement
- Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination
- Construction Site Runoff Control
- Post-Construction Runoff Control
- Pollution Prevention and Good Housekeeping
What is Stormwater?
Stormwater is the flow of water that results from precipitation which occurs immediately following rainfall or snow melt. Impervious surfaces like driveways, rooftops, and streets prevent stormwater from naturally soaking into the ground and create runoff that can carry pollutants into our public waterways.
Why is stormwater runoff a problem?
Polluted stormwater runoff is the number one cause of water pollution in North Carolina. In most cases in North Carolina today, stormwater either does not receive any treatment before it enters our waterways or is inadequately treated. Stormwater can pick up pollutants such as dirt, debris, and chemicals that flow into a storm sewer system or directly to a lake, stream, river, or wetland. Anything that enters a storm drain is discharged untreated into the waterbodies we use for swimming, fishing, and providing drinking water. Several examples of common pollutants are provided below:
- This is the number one water pollutant in North Carolina.
- Clouds water making it difficult or impossible for aquatic plants and animals to grow.
- Destroys important aquatic habitats.
- Results in increased flooding due to reduced stream capacity.
- Automotive fluids, pesticides, paint, detergents and other fluids are considered hazardous waste and can poison aquatic life.
- Land animals and people can become sick from eating fish that inhabit polluted waters.
- Trash, leaves, yard clippings, and brush can clog storm drains leading to localized flooding and damage to the storm drain infrastructure.
- These materials also enter the water system and harm aquatic life like ducks, fish, turtles and birds.
- Harmful bacteria and other pathogens can wash into swimming areas creating potential human health hazards.
- Excess nutrients from fertilizers can cause algal blooms that reduce the levels of dissolved oxygen in water leading to lethal conditions for many aquatic organism.
Polluted water creates numerous costs to the public and to wildlife. As the saying goes, “we all live downstream”. Communities that use surface water for their drinking supply must pay much more to clean up polluted water than clean water.
Polluted water hurts the wildlife in creeks, streams, rivers and lakes. Dirt from erosion, also called sediment, covers up fish habitats and fertilizers can cause too much algae to grow, which also hurts wildlife by using up the oxygen they need to survive. Soaps hurt fish gills and fish skin, and other chemicals damage plants and animals when they enter the water.
The quantity of stormwater is also a problem. When stormwater falls on hard surfaces like roads, roofs, driveways and parking lots it cannot seep into the ground, so it runs off to lower areas. To give you an idea of the difference a hard surface makes, consider the difference between one inch of rain falling onto a meadow and a parking lot. The parking lot shed 16 times the amount of water that a meadow does! Because more water runs off hard surfaces, developed areas can experience local flooding. The high volume of water also causes streams banks to erode and washes the wildlife that live there downstream.
To learn more about stormwater, how it is managed, and what you can do to help reduce stormwater pollution in our waterways please see our Public Educational and Outreach page.
**PLEASE NOTE THAT RECENT LEGISLATION (SEE PAGES 18 & 19) AT THE STATE LEVEL HAS AFFECTED OUR STORMWATER ORDINANCE - WE WILL BE UPDATING OUR ORDINANCE TO COMPLY**
Public Education, Outreach, and Involvement
On this page you will find more information about stormwater, how stormwater runoff is managed, ways you can help reduce stormwater pollution, and links to a number of other online resources.
What are the NPDES program and Phase II communities?
The NPDES program established a comprehensive two-phase approach to managing stormwater discharges. Phase I of the program required permits for municipal separate storm sewers (MS4s) serving populations greater than 100,000 people and for stormwater discharges associated with industrial activities.
Phase II requirements of the NPDES program applied to all non-point source discharges of stormwater from small MS4s with populations less than 100,000. Implementation of the NPDES phase I and II permitting program was delegated to the NC Department of Environment & Natural Resources (NCDENR), which designated that Hendersonville be brought into the program as an owner of an MS4.
What is Nonpoint source Pollution?
This is another term for polluted runoff and other sources of water pollution that are hard to pinpoint. The term “nonpoint source pollution” comes from the federal Clean Water Act of 1987. There, it is used as a catch-all for all kinds of water pollution that are not well-defined discharges (point sources) from wastewater plants or industries.
Many state agencies have nonpoint source (NPS) management programs that address polluted runoff. North Carolina’s NPS program is part of DEQ’s Division of Water Quality. It serves as the central coordinating agency for the many NPS-related programs operated by various agencies.
How are stormwater and runoff “managed”?
“Best management practices” is a term used to describe different ways to keep pollutants out of runoff and to slow down high volumes of runoff.
Preventing pollution from entering water is much more affordable than cleaning polluted water! Educating state residents about how to prevent pollution from entering waterways is one best management practice. Laws that require people and businesses involved in earth disturbing activities --like construction and agriculture -- to take steps to prevent erosion are another way to prevent stormwater pollution. There are also laws about litter, cleaning up after pets and dumping oil or other substances into storm drains.
Education and laws are just two best management practice examples. Some BMPs are constructed to protect a certain area. Some BMPS slow down stormwater, others help reduce the pollutants already in it – there are also BMPs that do both of these things.
Detention ponds fill up quickly after a rainstorm and allow solids like sediment and litter to settle at the pond bottom. Then, they release the water slowly. These ponds are one constructed BMP example. Green roofs, storm drain grates, filter strips, sediment fences and permeable paving are other examples.
If it only affects streams and creeks, why should I care?
Streams and creeks feed into rivers, lakes and the ocean. We all drink water, so we are all affected when our water is polluted. When water treatment costs rise, the price of drinking water goes up. If you like to fish, swim or boat, you may have heard or been affected by advisories warning you not to swim, fish or boat in a certain area because of unhealthy water or too much algae. Money made from tourism and water recreation can also be impacted, as are businesses and home flooded by stormwater runoff. When we pollute our water, everyone is affected!
What can I do to reduce the amount of stormwater pollution I contribute?
- If you own a car, maintain it so it does not leak oil or other fluids. Be sure to wash it on the grass or at a car wash so the dirt and soap do not flow down the driveway and into the nearest storm drain.
- If you own a yard, do not over fertilize your grass. Never apply fertilizers or pesticides before a heavy rain. If fertilizer falls onto driveways or sidewalks, sweep it up instead of hosing it away. Mulch leaves and grass clippings and place leaves in the yard at the curb, not in the street. Doing this keeps leaves out of the gutter, where they can wash into the nearest storm drain. Turn your gutter downspouts away from hard surfaces, seed bare spots in your yard to avoid erosion and consider building a rain garden in low-lying areas of your lawn
- If you have a septic system, maintain it properly by having it pumped every three to five years. If it is an older system, be sure it can still handle the volume placed on it today. Never put chemicals down septic systems, they can harm the system and seep into the groundwater.
- Pet owners should pick up after their pets and dispose of pet waste in the garbage.
- Keep lawn and household chemicals tightly sealed and in a place where rain cannot reach them. Dispose of old or unwanted chemicals at household hazardous waste collections sites or events.
- Never put anything in a storm drain.
- Don’t litter.
If you would like to learn more about how to get involved in local stormwater pollution prevention activities please check back here for upcoming events or visit MountainTrue’s website.
**Report ANY concerns regarding stormwater pollution and drainage to the Engineering Departments stormwater hotline: 828-697-3013 or email **
Storm Water Association of North Carolina: https://swanc.org/
Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination
To report illegal dumping into streams or storm drains call the Stormwater Hotline
The focus of the illicit discharge detection and elimination program is to detect and eliminate illicit discharges, including spills and illegal dumping. In addition, the City must identify and address significant contributors of pollutants to the MS4, implement appropriate enforcement procedures and actions, and develop a storm sewer system inventory and overall map showing all outfalls and associated conveyances. The final program goal is to inform employees, businesses, and the general public of hazards associated with illegal discharges and improper disposal of waste.
The City developed and adopted an ordinance to prohibit illicit discharges to the storm sewer system, which is included in the City’s Stormwater Ordinance, adopted November 16, 2007. Also, GIS mapping of the existing stormwater drainage system as of 2016 is being completed, and corresponding drainage areas have been delineated and receiving streams identified. New construction after 2015 is being added to the inventory using digital “as-built” files required during the construction process. In addition the City is completing an update to the stormwater drainage inventory in 2016.The Town is also in the process of developing a stormwater outfall inspection program to detect dry weather flows and monitor system outfalls.
The City of Hendersonville maintains a stormwater hotline and encourages the public to report any concerns or problems they may encounter involving stormwater drainage and runoff including illegal dumping in streams and storm drains, and clogged storm drainage systems.
Phone hotline: 828-697-3013 or Email
Resources for Property Owners and Developers
The documents on this page are designed to assist property owners and developers navigate the process of stormwater plan submittals, proper BMP selection, and BMP inspection reporting and maintenance. If you have any questions please contact the Stormwater Administrator at 828-697-3013.
The City of Hendersonville stormwater management program includes educational and regulatory initiatives to encourage environmentally sound development and redevelopment. The City's recently revised Stormwater Ordinance provides guidance on stormwater management plans required for development and redevelopment, and encourages the prevention of illicit discharges.
Components of the program include: