A majority of the City of Cedar Park is located either within the Recharge or Contributing Zone of the Edwards Aquifer, one of the most valuable natural resources in Central Texas. This aquifer provides water for municipal, industrial and agricultural uses as well as sustaining a number of threatened and endangered species. To preserve these beneficial uses, Texans must protect water quality in this aquifer and other waterways from degradation resulting from human activity.
The City of Cedar Park is looking to its residents to help improve water quality as it pertains to storm sewer system such as street inlets and detention pond facilities. When it rains, water that does not soak into the ground becomes stormwater. It can enter the storm sewer system and ends up in local streams, creeks, rivers and lakes. The City of Cedar Park asks that no resident dump any kind of substance into a street inlet, channel or pond facility. Stormwater runoff can pick up debris, chemicals, dirt and other pollutants that can cause water quality problems. In our area, most of the stormwater runoff is not treated or cleaned before it is discharged into local streams, creeks, rivers and lakes. Basically, the City's storm sewer system is a direct conduit to local water bodies and can affect YOUR water use.
Are you aware that the City of Cedar Park also has an existing ordinance restricting dumping into local storm drain systems? The Ordinance addressing Offenses and Nuisances (article 8.06.006 (b)) states that "No person shall sweep into or deposit in any street or sidewalk the accumulation of yard refuse, clippings, or litter from any building or property". In addition to the City's Ordinances, the City of Cedar Park requires that new inlets be marked with a "No Dumping, Drains to Waterway" marker.
Preventing Stormwater Pollution
Some other general practices that can prevent stormwater pollution include:
Not Washing Your Car in the Driveway
Washing your car at home introduces soap, oil, hazardous chemicals and engine grime to the environment. The dirty water and other chemicals wash off your car, flow down your driveway, down the street, into a curb inlet and end up in a nearby creek. Detergents in our creeks and ponds pose a very real threat to our fish. Use a commercial car wash instead. However, if you must wash your car at home, these tips will help minimize pollution: wash with only water or use biodegradable soap; use a spray release nozzle for your hose to reduce water use and runoff into the street; or wash your car on the lawn or other unpaved surface - your yard acts as a sponge and prevents soapy water from flowing down the curb.
Swimming Pool Maintenance
It is illegal to drain pool water into Cedar Park’s storm drain system that contains any harmful quantity of chlorine, muriatic acid or other chemical used in the treatment or disinfection of the swimming pool water or in pool cleaning. This water drains into our creeks, and can affect water quality and wildlife. Pool owners can discharge chlorinated, salt or filtered backwash water to a vegetated area on their own property. When discharging on your property, make sure the area is large enough to avoid any adverse impacts from runoff and puddles of standing water, and remember that high chlorine levels and salt content can potentially damage vegetation. Also be kind and avoid flooding neighboring properties. Pool water may alternatively be discharged to the storm drain system if it is free of pollutants and in if certain conditions are met, such as dechlorinating the water. Direct hose connection to the storm drain system is prohibited. By disposing of pool water properly, you are helping to preserve our creeks and wildlife.
Practicing Dry Cleanup Methods
Instead of hosing down your driveway or sidewalk, use a broom to sweep up waste. Clean up spilled fluids with an absorbent material, don’t rinse the spills into the storm drain.
Cleaning up After Your Pets
Bag your pet’s waste. Leaving pet waste on the ground increases public health risks by allowing harmful bacteria and nutrients to wash into the storm drain and eventually into local waterbodies.
For More Information
Additional information on water quality and the Edwards Aquifer can be found from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the Edwards Aquifer Authority. Citizens may also contact the City of Cedar Park with any questions or concerns in regards to water quality via email, or view the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Annual Reports Archive.