Stormwater Quality Improvement Program
The Stormwater Utility's Stormwater Quality Improvement Section manages programs and projects with a common goal to improve surface water quality in streams and lakes throughout Raleigh. In Raleigh, more than 20 different major streams connect to Walnut Creek or Crabtree Creek and in turn flow into the Neuse River.
The City of Raleigh's stormwater is regulated by a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) General Stormwater Permit. This permit includes many different measures the City must undertake to improve water quality in its streams and prevent water pollution to the maximum extent practical. Stormwater Quality Improvement staff ensure the City is meeting all of its permit requirements, many of which are described below.
Eliminating Illicit Discharges
An illicit discharge is an unlawful act of disposing, dumping, or spilling of any substance other than stormwater into the drainage system. Illicit discharges cause water pollution by sending pollutants directly into creeks, streams, ponds, and lakes. Stormwater Quality Improvement staff work diligently to respond quickly to illicit discharge complaints so they can be eliminated before posing a serious threat to the environment.
Stormwater and Stream Monitoring
Stormwater Quality Improvement staff manage three programs to monitor stormwater pollution and stream conditions in Raleigh. Water samples are collected at 18 stream locations to measure levels of pollution across the city. Benthic macroinvertebrate surveys are performed at 22 stream locations as a measure of stream health. Individual stormwater projects are monitored throughout the year to measure their effectiveness.
Stream Restoration and Stormwater Retrofit Projects
Stormwater Quality Improvement staff specialize in the design and construction of projects improving surface water quality in Raleigh's streams. Such projects include stream restoration, enhancement, and daylighting; constructed wetlands and rain gardens; and installing cisterns, green roofs, or other retrofits onto existing properties to reduce stormwater pollution.
Stormwater Quality Cost Share Assistance
A cost share program is available to provide funding assistance to property owners in Raleigh who want to improve the quality of stormwater runoff and reduce water pollution from their property. Examples of some projects eligible for funding include cisterns, green roofs, rain gardens, permeable pavement, and buffer restorations.
Stormwater Quality Improvement staff manage three volunteer programs as opportunities for residents to protect the environment and improve the heath of Raleigh's streams. Adopt-a-Stream volunteers organize stream walks and clean-ups each year. Storm drain marking volunteers glue colorful discs onto storm drain inlets to discourage illegal dumping. Stream monitoring volunteers measure various water quality parameters to determine a stream's health.
Public Education Programs
Stormwater Quality Improvement staff deliver presentations ranging from general stormwater pollution awareness with our watershed model, to identifying and preventing illicit discharges and learning about aquatic life and how they are used as a way to measure stream health. Staff can tailor presentations and activities to meet the needs of each group.