Storm water is generally rain or melting snow that runs off surfaces, both pervious (grass, and other undeveloped lands) and impervious surfaces (roofs, driveways, parking lots, streets, and other hard surfaces).
It flows from rooftops, through lawns, over paved streets, sidewalks and parking lots, across bare soil, and eventually flows untreated into storm drains to our streams, creeks, sinkholes and ultimately to our rivers via underground karst channels .
Storm water runoff is created from excess water that cannot be absorbed by pervious surfaces or from water flowing off impervious areas. Rather than being absorbed into the ground, rainwater enters the city’s storm water drainage system, a network of grass swales, catch basins, yard inlets and pipes that keep water from flooding roads and property. Water is channeled through this network to the city’s streams where it flows to a nearby sinkhole. These sinkholes discharge into rivers by flowing underground through channels carved by the water. As this water flows it collects pollutants such as pet waste, soil, pesticides, fertilizers, yard clippings, oil and grease and litter. These materials carried with the storm water are called non-point source pollution, and are some of the largest sources of pollution to our water.
Urbanization causes significant changes in stormwater runoff characteristics. As the natural landscape is cleared, graded, and covered with buildings and parking lots, rainwater can no longer filter into the soil to become groundwater. As a result, more rainwater enters our streams and sinkholes, and it enters more quickly. This increased volume and rate of run-off increases erosion and formation of gullies in upland areas, increases scour and erosion in streams, increases sediment deposition in lower areas, degrades water quality, causes more frequent flooding, and negatively effects stream ecology. These impacts on both man-made and natural systems require continuous management, maintenance, repair and replacement and careful planning to mitigate existing and future problems.
Federal law requires that the City of Radcliff manage stormwater as part of the NPDES program. To manage the stormwater quantity and quality aspects, many regulations have been adopted. To view the City of Radcliff Storm Water Ordinance, click here.
Help Protect our Streams and Sinkholes
Report Illegal Dumping. If you have witnessed illegal dumping or an illicit discharge in the City of Radcliff or know of a location where illegal dumping or an illicit discharge has occurred, please report online at Illegal Dumping/Illicit Discharge or call us at 270-351-4714.
About the Storm Sewer System
Q: What is a Municipal Storm Sewer System, or MS4?
A: An MS4 is a storm sewer system that is separate from the sanitary sewer and are generally operated by public entities (e.g. counties, cities, towns).
Q: What is the difference between a sanitary sewer and a storm sewer?
A: Sanitary sewers take household wastewater (such as water from sinks, toilets, washers, etc.) and carries it through a home’s plumbing and into an underground sewer pipe. This water then travels to a formal wastewater treatment plant where the water is cleaned to regulated standards. Storm sewers take rainwater that falls on our communities travels via the storm drain system (e.g. MS4) which may include public streets, gutters, catch basins, storm pipes, retention basins, channels, washes, etc. This water flows directly to your community’s local parks, basins and waterways without receiving any formal treatment.
Q: What is a catch basin?
A: A catch basin is a curbside receptacle that is connected to a storm sewer and whose sole function is to drain stormwater runoff from impervious surfaces (e.g. roads, parking lots, etc.).
Q: Do catch basins and storm pipes get cleaned out?
A: Yes. The City of Radcliff has a program to clean the drainage system within communities.
Q: Can filters or screens be installed in front of catch basins?
A: It sounds like a good idea. But during a rainstorm, trash is quickly swept to the catch basin and any screen or filtration device placed in front of the catch basin would cause trash to accumulate and clog the grate, preventing proper drainage and end up flooding the street. With hundreds of catch basins feeding miles of pipes and channels, there would be far too many blocked catch basins to have crews cleaning them as the rain falls.
Q: Why isn’t a net/fence installed at the end of the storm drain to catch all of the trash?
A: Trash barrier nets and/or screens only catch the trash that floats in the channels or detention basins. However, most pollutants like pet waste, used oil, pesticides, fertilizers, etc. flow through the net and straight into our waterways.
Q: What else can residents of Radcliff do to improve stormwater?
A: Review other links on our website that educate you or remind you to:
- Dispose of cooking oil properly – Fats, oil and grease don’t mix well with water and can build up and block sewer lines, causing sewer overflows.
- Sprinkle your lawn sparingly – No matter how much you water it, concrete will not bloom! Prevent runoff and save money.
- Bag pet waste – don’t just leave it there.
- Don’t apply pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides before it rains. Contrary to popular belief, the rain won’t help to soak these chemicals into the ground; it will only help create polluted runoff into our local creeks.
- Select native and adapted plants and grasses that are drought and pest resistant. Native plants require less water, fertilizer, and pesticides. Learn more about native and adaptive plants at www.knps.org.
- Reduce the amount of paved area and increase the amount of vegetated area in your yard. Vegetation acts as a natural filter for polluted stormwater runoff.
- When washing your car at home, wash with only water or use biodegradable soap and wash it on a lawn or other unpaved surface; better yet, take your car to a professional car wash.
- If you change your car’s oil, don’t dump it on the ground or in the storm drain; dispose of it properly at an oil-recycling center.
- Check your car, boat, or motorcycle for leaks. Clean up spilled fluids with an absorbent material; don’t rinse spills into the storm drain.
- Don’t get rid of grass clippings and other yard waste by dumping it or sweeping it into the storm drain; this will cause depleted oxygen for aquatic life. Instead, compost your yard waste or take advantage of the City’s leaf and limb pick-up program.
- Don’t get rid of old or unused paint by throwing it down the storm drain; dispose of paint and other household hazardous waste at recycling facilities. Hardin County hosts a Household
- Hazardous Waste drop-off event several times a year where Radcliff residents may drop off household hazardous waste such as paint, motor oil, and pesticides.
- Don’t pump your pool water into the storm drain – pool chemicals can be hazardous to our creek habitats. Whenever possible, drain your pool into the sanitary sewer system where it can be treated.
- Don’t mess with Radcliff! Throw litter away in a garbage can, not out your window. Recycle what you can! Litter carried away by wind or rain goes directly into our creeks and rivers via storm drains! Once in our waterways, these “floatables” can cause flooding, trap and choke wildlife, impede recreational opportunities such as swimming, fishing, and boating, cause adverse economic impacts on businesses, and reduce the aesthetic value of our neighborhoods and waterways.