The residents of the City of Hagerstown and Washington County are fortunate to have a wide variety of natural features available for passive and active recreation and enjoyment. Among the most important of these features are the many streams, creeks, ponds, and rivers in our area. These water resources are the source of our drinking water, support plant and wildlife ecosystems, provide water for agricultural irrigation, and provide fishing and water sport opportunities.
Unfortunately, the health of these water resources is being threatened on a number of fronts. One of the biggest threats is polluted stormwater runoff that enters our streams and creeks. With the increasing pace of development in and around Hagerstown, and as open farmland and undisturbed areas are converted into housing developments, shopping centers, and other urban uses, more and more impervious surfaces are created. Rainfall that used to be absorbed into the ground now runs off of pavement, roofs, etc. This additional runoff picks up pollutants as it passes through drainage channels and storm drainage piping systems, and these pollutants are transported into streams and rivers downstream. The damage caused by these pollutants is not limited to Hagerstown and Washington County; the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay are impacted by the polluted runoff generated in Hagerstown.
There are many different types of pollutants that are commonly found in stormwater runoff, including:
- Oil, grease, and antifreeze from automobiles and other machinery
- Fertilizer and pesticides from lawns, gardens, athletic fields, and agricultural fields
- Sediment from construction sites, mining operations, and farm fields
- Improperly disposed of household chemicals (detergents, cleaners, and solvents)
If you witness or discover a discharge of pollutants into the City's storm drainage system, or into a stream or waterway, please report this information using the Illicit Discharge Report Form.
Because the sources of these pollutants are distributed throughout the Hagerstown area, the contaminants are known as "Non-Point Source" pollution. Unlike concentrated discharges from factories or wastewater treatment plants that can be linked to a particular responsible party, the reduction or elimination of non-point source pollutants is largely the responsibility of the residents of Hagerstown.
Stormwater Pollution Prevention Program
The City of Hagerstown, in compliance with its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit from the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has implemented a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Program. This program requires the city to implement Six Measures to improve the quality of stormwater runoff:
- Public Education - share information and make the public aware of the NPDES program
- Public Involvement - engage the public and encourage participation in pollutant reduction activities
- Illicit Discharge Detection & Elimination - find and stop illegal discharges of pollutants into the stormwater collection system
- Construction Site Runoff Control - ensure that erosion and sediment control facilities are installed on construction sites
- Post-Construction Runoff Control - enforce the City's Stormwater Management Ordinance
- Pollution Prevention/Good Housekeeping - reduce/control pollutant discharges from City facilities
The success of this important program relies on the support and participation of the residents of Hagerstown. Working together, our goal is to protect the environment, improve the quality of our streams and waterways, and preserve these vital resources for future generations of residents. Please visit the Homeowner Participation page for information on how residents can help the City manage stormwater runoff and decrease pollutant loads on our streams.