An important part of the Norristown Public Works Department’s job is to clean and maintain 54 miles of municipal storm sewers. The municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) is a series of inlets and pipes that carry storm water into the Stony Creek, the Saw Mill Run and the Schuylkill River.
Storm Water Management
When it rains (or snows) storm water is collected at hundreds of inlets located throughout Norristown. Inlets are usually located at street corners and can be recognized by the large steel plates or grates that cover them. Each inlet is connected to an underground pipe that carries the water through Norristown before it eventually empties into the Schuylkill River.
Pattern of Water Management
The next time it rains take a moment to watch the water run down the street along the curb. All of that water is headed for an inlet. This pattern is repeated over and over all through Norristown during a storm, gathering thousands of gallons of storm water that will eventually reach the Schuylkill River.
Storm Water Pollution
The problem is that more than just water reaches the river. Different forms of pollution are carried with the storm water. In Norristown pollution often takes the form of trash. Too many residents throw trash and debris on the sidewalk or in the street. The trash is then washed into the MS4 system when it rains.
After a rainstorm how many times have you seen inlets piled up with soda bottles, candy wrappers, and food containers? You can be sure that an even larger quantity of trash found its way into the storm water pipe and then to the Schuylkill River.