STORMWATER RUN-OFF: IMPACTS AND MANAGEMENT
WHAT IS STORMWATER RUN-OFF?
Stormwater run-off is the major source of water pollution in New Jersey. Sources of run-off pollution include a diverse range of human and animal activity that cumulatively cause serious short- and long-term impacts on the State’s recreational waters and, ultimately, on the quality and supply of our drinking water.
Run-off is water that runs across land rather than being absorbed into the ground. In Cranford, rain and melting snow pick up and carry away natural and man-made contaminants, ultimately depositing them into the Rahway River, the Arthur Kill, wetlands, aquifers, and the Atlantic Ocean.
These contaminants include:
• Fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides, and other chemicals from residential areas;
• Oil, grease, coolants, and other toxic fluids from automobiles and roadways;
• Sediment from construction sites and eroding stream banks, and;
• Bacteria and nutrients from pet waste.
WHY IS STORMWATER RUN-OFF A PROBLEM?
Run-off pollution is a serious problem in New Jersey and in Cranford today. The collective, statewide impact of run-off pollution threatens aquatic and marine life, water-related recreational activity and tourism, the fishing industry, and, most importantly, our drinking water.
Although individual homes might contribute minimal amounts of run-off pollution, the combined effect produced by an entire neighborhood can be serious. We all play a part. Each of us contributes to the problem without even realizing it. In a sense, every property in Cranford is waterfront property. Once run-off is collected by the Township’s storm sewer system, it flows untreated into nearby streams and the Rahway River. Each property in town adds its contribution to the river.
Event: Create a Rain Garden In Your Own Yard
Thursday January 26th 7pm – 9pm
Springfield Public Library, 66 Mountain Avenue, Springfield
Rain gardens are visually pleasing landscape features that help manage stormwater runoff which leads to less flooding. Toby Horton, Landscape Architect and Rutgers Cooperative Extension Specialist, has designed dozens of beautiful rain gardens for New Jersey residents. Toby will be joined by RRWA President, Seton Hall University Professor Marian Glenn, to host this informative lecture. They will explain what a rain garden is, describe their many benefits, and tell you how you can create one in your own yard.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is partnering with the New Jersey State Department of Environmental Protection to carry out a Feasibility Study to identify various flood risk management alternatives for communities along the Rahway River Basin, with a specific emphasis on the cities of Rahway and Cranford.
December 2016 Update
Rahway River Basin Flood Risk Management Feasibility Study
Over the years, flooding has taken its toll on the residents of Cranford. Millions of dollars have been spent to try to manage the flow of water through our town during major weather events and these steps have helped during some storms. Minimizing flooding in Cranford requires a regional solution and we will need the communities upriver to help.
The good news is that work is being done to find these solutions. The bad news is that the major projects that can have the most impact are expensive and will not be done anytime soon.
So while we wait the county, state, and federal governments to do something, what can we do? The fact is that there are small steps each of us can take to help reduce flooding. Each of us has to do all we can to help solve our problem. If we expect other communities to take steps to help, we have to lead by example.