Protecting Our Waterways

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Clark County’s streams and rivers are important amenities that wonderfully compliment our fantastic parks and recreational opportunities. Where else can you start the day fly-fishing for trout and end it kayaking in whitewater? If fighting rapids isn’t your speed, a leisurely float down the Mad River, or bike ride along Buck Creek, might suit you. When properly utilized these waterways play a key role in a healthy ecosystem, along with adding to the economic impact parks have on our community. Like anything else though, our streams and rivers demand maintenance if we want to continue to benefit from them economically and recreationally.

We all have a responsibility to care for Clark County’s waterways. National Trail maintains 12 miles of waterways throughout Clark County which includes all of Buck Creek, portions of the Mad River and other smaller waterways. National Trail works with the Springfield Conservancy District and others to remove tires and debris, reforests stream banks, remove invasive plant species and establishes native prairies along the streams’ edges. The average person can help by limiting the amount of stormwater pollution reaching the streams. Stormwater pollution occurs when it rains. Between rain storms, the debris of everyday life-litter, cigarette butts, oil dripping from cars, excess lawn and garden chemicals, and pet waste, build up on the landscape. When it rains, it’s as if the landscape gets a bath and all those dirt and chemicals are washed off. They end up, however, in Clark County’s streams. You can easily help though! Don’t litter or over-apply lawn fertilizers and chemicals. And one of the biggest things you can do, especially if you live in Springfield, is to direct as many downspouts as possible to an area where rainwater will soak into the ground rather than runoff to the street.

Keeping rainwater out of the sewer system is one of the most pressing issues facing Springfield. Much of the city’s sewer was designed with pipes of a limited volume. When it rains, the amount of stormwater entering the sewer sometimes exceeds the volume of the pipes and raw sewage mixed with stormwater can overflow into Buck Creek and other streams. Though Springfield’s sewer, like many other cities’ sewers, was designed to overflow, the EPA has mandated that the overflows be reduced. And we should reduce the overflows. Dumping untreated sewage and stormwater into our streams severely limits their benefits. Springfield recently completed a project that allows the wastewater treatment plant to treat 140 million gallons a day and greatly reduced the overflows into Mad River. The city’s next step is to create a strategy to reduce the roughly 50 annual overflows along Buck Creek, Mill Run and Mill Creek. Meeting EPA’s mandate is a long way off, but Springfield is moving forward and trying to be a good steward of the waterways we are so lucky to have.

WAYS TO REDUCE STORMWATER POLLUTANT

  • Fix Your Leaky Vehicle
  • Use A Carwash When Washing Your Vehicle
  • Do Not Litter
  • Dispose of Pet Waste
  • Store And Apply Lawn Chemicals Appropriately
  • Keep Lawn Waste Out Of The Streets
  • Put Rain Barrels On Your Downspouts
  • Install A Rain Garden
  • Dispose Of Hazardous Waste At The Clark County Solid Waste District
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