April 17th, 2024

Being mindful of stormwater pollution during all seasons

By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - Lethbridge Herald on January 28, 2022.

Herald photo by Alejandra Pulido-Guzman The stormwater pond in the neighbourhood of Garry Station is one of many across the city that serves as an aquatic wildlife ecosystem helping to clean residential runoff on its way to the Oldman River.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDapulido@lethbridgeherald.com

To wash or not to wash, that is the question. And it is one that many associate with summer weather, but is one that should be asked in the winter months as well.
With the fluctuating temperatures we have been experiencing lately, it might be easy to forget we are in the middle of winter and start engaging in “summer activities” like washing cars in the driveway.
As Lethbridge resident Tia Daniels tweeted on Monday, “In case you’re wondering how warm it was this weekend in Lethbridge, I saw someone washing their vehicle in their driveway today.”
Some people might not be aware of the detrimental consequences this pose for the environment, especially to the Oldman River and residential ponds that are home to aquatic wildlife.
“When you wash your car in your driveway what happens is the runoff ends up in the curb and gutter, which ends up in a catch basin, which ends up into the storm sewer system which is then discharged into the Oldman River,” said Doug May, Civil Engineering Technology instructor at Lethbridge College.
Unlike what flows out of households, which drains into the sanitary sewer system and gets directed to the water treatment plant, what flows through residential streets makes its way into the Oldman River untreated. The water enters storm ponds throughout the city, which helps to clean the water on its way to the Oldman River.
“The intent of this is to mitigate downstream flooding, but it also serves as a catch point to capture sediment that’s been kind of picked up when water runs along the curb and gutter and gets into the system,” said May.
In order to protect the ecosystem within the Oldman River, the City of Lethbridge has a bylaw in place, which many might be unaware of. It is called the Drainage Bylaw (5594) which can result in fines ranging from $75 up to $10,000 for allowing harmful materials into the stormwater system.
“They basically don’t want the sulphate contaminants finding their way into the system and that’s why that bylaw was written,” said May.
The City of Lethbridge has put together a stormwater general information and FAQ page, for people to get acquainted with the bylaw and to learn ways they can help preserve the Oldman River’s ecosystem.
The information can be found at https://www.lethbridge.ca/living-here/water-wastewater/Documents/FAQ%20Drainage%20Bylaw.pdf

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Great article.