Welcome to Thomas Nelson Community College’s Stormwater Management Program information page provided by the Plant Services Department. Here you will find information about the College’s stormwater management program, stormwater management regulations, and general information on stormwater related issues. You will also find suggestions and actions you can take to help prevent stormwater pollution.
The goal of the College’s stormwater management program is to ensure that stormwater generated on College’s two campuses does not adversely affect the surface or groundwaters on campus, in the community and in the state of Virginia.
Stormwater management is now an integral part of our interaction with our environment. As students, faculty and staff, our most common daily activities can have an unhealthy impact on Virginia’s waterways. Every time that it rains, everything we leave on the streets, parking lots and lawns washes through our ditches and storm drains into our streams, rivers, lakes and other waterways. What the rain washes away (known as stormwater runoff) can pick up chemicals, dirt, debris and other pollutants that flow in the College’s storm sewer system.
Polluted stormwater runoff effects the environment we live in through the following pathways:
- Sediment – sediment clouds the water and makes it difficult or impossible for aquatic plants to grow.
- Bacteria (and other pathogens) – bacteria and other harmful microorganisms can wash into swimming areas and create health hazards, often resulting in beach closures.
- Debris – debris such as plastic bags, bottles and cigarette butts that are washed into bodies of water can choke, suffocate or disable aquatic life.
- Hazardous Waste – hazardous waste such as insecticides, pesticides, motor oil and anti-freeze can poison aquatic life. Land animals and people can become sick from eating diseased fish and shellfish or ingesting polluted water.
For developed areas, like TNCC’s campuses, natural conditions are changed by creating large areas of impermeable surfaces, such as roads, buildings, and parking lots. The water that normally would infiltrate into the ground from the impervious areas runs off and enters storm sewers, streams or other surface waterbodies. If we are not mindful of what we leave behind on pervious (i.e. lawns, meadows and woodlands) and impervious surfaces, pollutants such as automobile oil, grease, sediment from construction sites, bacteria from animal waste, excess lawn care fertilizers and pesticides will be discharged into our storm sewer system and the waterbodies we use for drinking water, swimming and fishing.
Stormwater draining from our Hampton campus is collected by an individual storm sewer system that functions independently of each campus’ respective city system. These systems are regulated as small municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s) by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Commonwealth of Virginia. Pursuant to the Virginia Stormwater Management Program (VSMP) and Stormwater Management Act; the College is registered to obtain coverage under the General Permit for Stormwater Discharges of Stormwater from Small Municipal Separate Stormwater Systems. The general MS4 permit authorized TNCC’s storm sewer system to discharge into surface waters within Virginia state boundaries.
Faculty and Staff:
As faculty and staff at TNCC, we have the responsibility to be good stewards of the campuses natural resources. By being mindful of how potential pollutants are handled and stored, we can successfully prevent stormwater pollution and improve the quality of water in our streams, lakes and rivers.
Below are some suggestions that you can implement as faculty and staff at TNCC. We hope that you will help us keep our waterways clean.
- When using chemical fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides, use them sparingly and follow the label directions carefully. Never apply fertilizers or pesticides when a heavy rain is forecast.
- Monitor the storm sewer system for illicit discharge. For more information of illict discharges visit http://www.epa.gov/npdes/pubs/fact2-5.pdf
- Recycle or properly dispose of used motor oil and other hazardous wastes. One quart of motor oil can contaminate up to 2 million gallons of water!
- Keep leaves, grass clipping, soaps, litter and harmful chemicals away from streets, ditches, storm drains and waterways. The added nutrients and toxins present in those products contribute to harmful algae blooms and fish kills.
- Group plants by water needs to make watering more efficient.
- Make sure all of your students doing research have been trained in proper lab techniques and waste disposal. Make sure the students understand potential problems which may arise as a result of chemical interactions or accidentally mixing the wrong chemicals.
- Keep up with the maintenance of campus equipment and vehicles. Catching leaks early prevents oil, antifreeze and other containments from spilling onto the ground and contaminating stormwater runoff.
Making a commitment to change at least one habit that contributes to stormwater pollution can result in benefits to our water resources that will be shared by the TNCC community as a whole.
We hope that you will implement the suggestions offered.
- Place litter, including cigarette butts, in trash receptacles. Never throw litter in streets or down storm drains.
- Make use of recycling programs.
- Report leaking faucets or running toilets to maintenance staff. Decreasing water usage, you can help prevent the sewer system from overloading and contaminating ground water and surface water.
- Get involved in the planning and zoning process in your community. That’s where the decisions are made that shape the course of development and the future quality of our environment.
- Regular tune-ups and inspections can help keep automotive waste and byproducts from contaminating runoff.
- Participate in clean-up activities on campus and in the surrounding community.
- Write or call your elected representatives to inform them about your concerns and encourage legislation to protect water resources.
- Get involved in local planning and zoning decisions and encourage your local officials to develop erosion and sediment control ordinances.
- Form student groups to promote environmental education. Help educate people in your college and surrounding community about ways in which they can help protect water quality.
Training Materials and Stormwater Links:
Presentations and Documents
- Department of Environmental Quality (Stormwater Management)
- Department of Environmental Quality (Erosion and Sediment Control)
- Department of Environmental Quality (MS4 Permits)
- Environmental Protection Agency (Polluted Runoff)
- Environmental Protection Agency (Watersheds)
For more information about stormwater management at TNCC or to report stormwater issues on your campus please contact: