Stormwater is water from precipitation that flows across the ground and pavement when it rains or when snow and ice melt. The water seeps into the ground or drains into storm sewers. Stormwater flows into storm sewers through catch basins. These are the drains you see at street corners or at low points on the sides of your streets. The draining water is called stormwater runoff and is a concern to us since it can wash oil, grease, toxics, pathogens, sediment and other pollutants into storm sewers.
Stormwater eventually infiltrates through the ground (contributing to groundwater), runs directly into natural surface water features, evaporates or drains into systems of underground pipes or roadside ditches and may travel for many miles before being released into a lake, river, stream or wetland area.
At industrial and commercial sites, toxic chemical leaks and spills, uncovered or unprotected outdoor storage or waste areas and smoke stacks that spew emissions can contribute pollutants to stormwater runoff. Also, construction sites can generate waste since chemicals and materials are used and disturbed soil that isn't contained can erode and wash into our waterways.
At home, vehicles can drip fluids onto paved surfaces where stormwater runoff carries them through our storm drains and into our waterways. Pet wastes left on the ground can get carried away by stormwater, contributing harmful bacteria, parasites and viruses to our waterways. Pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides used to grow and maintain lawns and gardens, if not used properly, can run off into the storm drains when it rains or when we water our lawns or gardens. Chemicals used in crop production can be toxic to aquatic life and can contribute to over-enrichment of the water, causing excess algae growth and oxygen depletion. Finally, illegal and/or inappropriate connections and other discharges to storm sewers can be a significant way for hazardous materials to enter stormwater and eventually impact surface water features.
If you see anyone dumping something down a storm drain or inlet, please call the City Dispatcher at 269-337-8729 during the daytime or 269-337-8148 after hours.
Stormwater Management Plan
The City of Kalamazoo has revised its technical document "Performance Standards for Groundwater Protection Within Wellhead Protection Capture Zones and Stormwater Management" in 2015. The revisions were implemented to meet the new post-construction stormwater runoff requirements in the 2015 State of Michigan National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit for the discharge of stormwater to the surface waters of the state, to improve language clarity, provide more efficient guidelines for developers during the site plan review process, and to consider additional controls to minimize localized flooding.
View the City of Kalamazoo's Stormwater Management Plan Table Summary (PDF). Additional information can be found herein or can requested via the contact page.
Additional Information on Stormwater
- Stormwater management video
- After The Storm....a citizens guide to understanding stormwater (PDF)
- MDEQ Stormwater
- Illicit Discharge Brochure (PDF)
Use of Native Vegetation
Benefits and Management of Riparian Zones
Be the Solution to Stormwater Pollution
- Healthy Household Habits For Clean Water
- How Your Lawn Can Cause Water Pollution - Simple Steps For Cleaner Water
- Learn About Raingardens
- View MDEQ's booklet "Landscaping for Water Quality" (PDF)
Interested in learning more? View the following pages:
Where does groundwater come from? The rain! Each year in Kalamazoo County we get an average of 34-36" of rain. Approximately 65% of the rain is lost to evapotranspiration, 25% infiltrates into the ground to become groundwater, and 10% runs off to surface water.