What is Stormwater? Stormwater Brochure
Stormwater is the flow of water that results from precipitation and which occurs immediately following rainfall or as a result of snowmelt. When a precipitation event occurs, several things happen to the water. Some of the precipitation infiltrates into the soil surface, some is taken up by plants, and some is evaporated into the atmosphere. Stormwater runoff is the remainder of the precipitation that flows off land surfaces and impervious areas into storm sewers and drainageways.
Why is it Important to Manage Stormwater?
Stormwater management involves the control of stormwater runoff and is critical for two reasons: one related to the volume and timing of runoff water and the other related to potential contaminants that the water carries.
As urbanization occurs, less precipitation infiltrates into the ground and more stormwater runoff is generated. This can result in more frequent flooding, sediment deposition, erosion, and stream instability. When proper stormwater management is implemented, this runoff is directed to a stormwater management facility where it is temporarily stored and released at a rate equivalent to the conditions prior to development. When properly designed and maintained, stormwater management facilities significantly reduce the potential for downstream flooding conditions.
Before reaching the stormwater management facility, stormwater runoff travels across rooftops, grassed areas, pavements, and agricultural fields and accumulates pollutants such as oil and grease, chemicals, nutrients, sediment, metals, and bacteria. When this runoff is temporarily stored in a stormwater management facility these pollutants have the opportunity to settle out, thus improving the quality of the downstream waterway.
What Does the City do to Address Stormwater Management?
In order to effectively manage stormwater runoff, the City of West Des Moines Public Services Department provides the following services:
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