Pollution from stormwater is one of the biggest environmental problems facing society. Today, in urban and suburban areas, much of the land is covered with buildings and pavement. This does not allow rain or snowmelt to soak into the ground. Further, most developed areas rely on storm drains to carry large amounts of runoff from roofs and paved areas to nearby waterways.


The porous and varied terrain of natural landscapes such as forests, wetlands and grasslands help to trap rainwater and snowmelt, allowing the water to filter slowly into the ground. In contrast, impervious or nonporous surfaces like roads, parking lots and rooftops prevent rain and snowmelt from infiltrating or soaking into the ground. Most of the rainfall and snowmelt remains above the surface, where it runs off rapidly in unnaturally large amounts. Because of impervious surfaces like pavement and roof tops, a typical city block generates more than five times the amount of runoff that a woodland area of the same size would generate.


The runoff generated by rain and snow melt picks up fertilizers, dirt, chemicals, pesticides, oil, grease and many other pollutants and discharges these pollutants into our streams and rivers. This untreated discharge is detrimental to water quality in our streams and lakes, such as Lake Nockamixon. The water from most of the streams in Richland Township ends up in Lake Nockamixon.


The concern about stormwater runoff is one of the reasons that Richland Township limits the amount of impervious surface areas that are allowed on lots and adopted an earth disturbance ordinance in 1995 and a stormwater management ordinance in 2000. Today we are partnering with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection through the federally mandated MS4 Program to help protect the environment from stormwater pollution.


Prevention is the most economical and cost effective way to eliminate stormwater pollution. By following simple cost free guidelines, we can all reduce the amount of pollution reaching our streams. In addition, there are many low cost things that we can do that, in addition to reducing pollution, can provide additional benefits to us and our properties.


Are you part of the Problem?

You may be contributing to water pollution without even realizing it. Before you exclude yourself as part of the problem, check if any of the following situations exist at your home:

  • A leaking, overflowing or outdated septic tank.
  • Vehicles that leak oil, antifreeze, transmission or brake fluid.
  • Large paved areas or impervious surfaces that drain directly to streets or storm drains.
  • Bare, unplanted areas from which soil erodes when it rains.
  • Use of fertilizer or pesticides that washes off lawns and gardens.
  • Using a hose to clean the driveway.
  • Over-watering of lawns and gardens.
  • Pet or animal waste left in the street, on the sidewalk or on the ground.
  • Improper storage and disposal of pesticides, gasoline, oil, paint, etc.
  • Using a storm drain to dispose of yard waste or chemicals.
  • Lack of landscaping that encourages water to infiltrate into the soil.


When you think about it there is a good chance that we are contributing to water pollution. However, there are many things that we can do to help. In many cases, simply changing some of our practices can help. We should seek to reduce the volume of our stormwater runoff and to reduce the amount of pollution that our runoff carries away.


Keep in Mind:

  • It is better to direct downspouts away from pavement and toward grassy, mulched or planted areas.
    (As a bonus it reduces the need to water these areas.)
  • When watering the lawn, avoid watering sidewalks, driveways and streets. Also, it is better to water early in the morning or late in the evening when it is cooler.
  • When mowing grass, leave it higher and mow more frequently to retain more water and have a healthier lawn.
  • Leave the grass clippings on the lawn to help keep it fertile and moist. Grass clippings are 75 to 85 percent water and are rich in nitrogen.
  • Creating raised planting beds and using mulch helps to capture stormwater.
  • A rain garden can be an attractive and effective way to reduce runoff.
  • Use a broom rather than a hose to remove yard debris from sidewalks and driveways.
  • Sweep lawn debris into the yard instead of the street, or put the debris in a compost pile.
  • Determine how much fertilizer your plants actually need and apply only what they will use.
  • Sweep up and remove fertilizer spilled onto paved surfaces.
  • Don’t apply pesticides on a windy day or before a rainfall.
  • Calibrate spreaders or sprayers to only apply the exact amount of pesticide.
  • Collect your pet’s droppings and dispose of them in the toilet or in your trash that is sent to the landfill.
  • Take hazardous wastes to one of the convenient hazardous waste drop offs held at different sites around the county.
  • Participate in Richland Township’s annual roadside clean-up day (call 215-536-4066 for more information) or have your group or 
    organization join PennDOT’s Adopt-a-Highway Program (see link below).

Dumping yard waste or chemicals, such as paint and used motor oil, down storm drains is not only harmful, it is illegal. If you observe someone dumping materials down a storm drain, please report it as soon as possible. You may call the Richland Township Police Department at 215-536-9500 or the Township Office at 215-536-4066. Also, please report anything you see in a stream that you do not believe should be there.

















For more information about these matters, please click on the links below.

1328 California Rd, Suite A    Quakertown, PA 18951  Phone: 215-536-4066    Fax: 215-538-3020