Storm Water Management

Most people do not know that there are two completely separate systems that handle storm water and sewer water here in Fountain Hills. Having separate systems for storm water and sewer waste water is common in virtually every municipality in the Valley. On average the Valley receives about seven inches of rain each year. So how is our storm water treated differently than our sewer waste water?
After a rain our storm water travels through a complex storm water conveyance system that is made up of gutters, catch basins, streets, washes, retention basins and other storm water conveyance structures. While the storm water travels through the system the water carries debris, oils, sediment and other contaminates it picks up along the way.

The water and other materials that enter the storm system aren't treated for contaminants similar to the sanitary sewer water; it goes directly into the ground via infiltration into the soil. These contaminates will eventually make their way into our water table and even into local rivers and lakes.
Storm Water Management Graphic
Unlike storm water systems, the sanitary sewer system is a closed system that collects waste from homes and businesses from sinks, toilets, showers, and baths. From there, the waste water travels through a series of pipes to a waste water treatment plant where the waste is then treated.
Fountain Hill's Responsibilities
The Clean Water Act (CWA), among other things, regulates storm water and urban runoff to protect water quality. The Phase II Final Rule requires small municipal storm water systems (MS4s) such as Fountain Hills, to obtain a permit which specifies the measures that will be taken to prevent pollution from entering the storm system. In Arizona, Phase II permits are administered by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ).

The Town of Fountain Hills has been holding a Phase II permit since June, 2003 and as a result, has certain requirements imposed upon the Town as a permit holder. Our main requirement is establishing and maintaining our Storm Water Management Plan (SWMP). Fountain Hills is required to prohibit non-storm water discharges into the storm water system and to implement enforcement procedures.

In order to meet these requirements, the Fountain Hills Town Council adopted Ordinance 03-13 on June 3, 2003. The SWMP includes six Minimum Control Measures with Best Management Practices (BMPs) and measurable goals for each:
  • Construction Storm Water Runoff Controls
  • Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination
  • Pollution Prevention
  • Post Construction Storm Water Management
  • Public Education and Outreach
  • Public Participation/Involvement
Street Sweeping
As part of our Storm Water Program the Town has a very thorough street sweeping program. The Town sweeps 177 miles of streets annually and collects approximately one and one-half tons of debris from our streets every day. The debris is made up of litter, tire residue, oil and other pollutants. By removing this debris from the roadways we remove the ability for our storm water to carry the debris sending the pollutants to outfalls and into the ground and eventually into the natural water supply system.

Fountain Hills is a member of Storm Water Outreach for Regional Municipalities (STORM) an organization made up of 23 municipal organizations. The STORM organization helps provide educational material relating to storm water management and provides a forum for discussion on best management practices for participating municipalities. Click here to visit the STORM website.

Informational brochures provided by STORM: