As part of the Town’s Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Permit requirements, the existing public education and outreach program regarding stormwater impacts must be enhanced. The revised program must:
- Increase target audience knowledge about the steps that can be taken to reduce stormwater pollution, placing priority on reducing impacts to impaired waters and other local pollution concerns;
- Increase target audience knowledge of hazards associated with illegal discharges and disposal of waste, including pertinent legal implications; and,
- Implement a diverse program with strategies targeted to audiences most likely to have significant stormwater impacts.
In addition, the program must be designed to:
- Identify, at a minimum, three high-priority water quality issues that contribute to the discharge of stormwater (e.g., pet wastes and local bacteria TMDLs, high-quality receiving waters, and illicit discharges from commercial sites) and a rationale for the selection of the three high-priority water quality issues;
- Identify and estimate the population size of the target audience or audiences who is most likely to have significant impacts for each high-priority water quality issue;
- Develop relevant message or messages and associated educational and outreach materials (e.g., various media such as printed materials, billboard and mass transit advertisements, signage at select locations, radio advertisements, television advertisements, websites, and social media)
- Provide for public participation during public education and outreach program development.
Proposed Public Education and Outreach Plan
To address the above permit requirements, the Town proposes to establish sediment, bacteria, and nutrients as the three high-priority water quality issues on which to focus its Public Education and Outreach Program. Sediment and bacteria were selected because the Town has been assigned a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for these impairments, which means the Town has been put on a “Pollution Diet” to limit these two pollutants from entering its waterways. Nutrients (phosphorus and nitrogen, in particular) were selected as the third water quality issue on which to focus, because they have such negative impacts on receiving waters when in large quantities. Excess nutrients wash off from lawns, other managed turf areas, and gardens and are transported via stormwater runoff to the area’s local creeks, streams, and the Roanoke River. In these water bodies, they cause algae overgrowth, which in turn decreases the oxygen that marine life need to survive. This often results in fish kills, fish illnesses, and the tainting of human food. Groundwater supplies may also be affected by nutrient pollution, thus making it an important topic on which to focus education efforts.
In addition to the three high-priority water quality issues, the Town will continue its work to educate its businesses and residents about other issues that may affect local water quality.
Topics will include:
- Proper disposal of fats, oils, and grease;
- Proper use and disposal of pesticides, herbicides, and weed killers;
- Proper yard maintenance (sweeping up of grass clipping, leaves, and lawn debris);
- Proper waste disposal of used motor oil, pool chemicals, and other household chemicals;
- Encourage local businesses to conduct employee training for Spill Prevention, Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination, Pollution Prevention and Good Housekeeping.
The Town will use various means to conduct public education, including spots on the local cable channel (RVTV-3), posting of educational material on the Town’s website, outreach activities with garden clubs, homeowners associations, civic leagues, and other organizations, and the publication of newsletters and brochures. The Town will also continue to collaborate with the Clean Valley Council on education initiatives within the schools, and it will collaborate with neighboring localities such as the County of Roanoke and City of Roanoke, to conduct some education initiatives on a more regional scale.
A table has been created to help identify the three high-priority (sediment, bacteria, and nutrients) water quality issues and the associated target audiences, along with the overall messages and rationale for using them.
Sediment, Bacteria, Nutrients Table
The public is invited to comment on these selections and the program, in general, and may offer any additional topics for consideration. Should you wish to make comments, you may submit them via email or mail.
Email comments to Joey Hiner, Director of Public Works.
You may also submit written comments, by mail, to:
Town of Vinton
Public Works Department
804 3rd Street
Vinton, VA 24179