Stormwater is any precipitation that falls during a storm event. Complications arise when this runoff collects oils, grease, fertilizers, pesticides, trash, and other debris as it travels along engineered and natural conveyances, eventually ending up in waters of the state. This addition of polluted water to streams has detrimental effects on the flora and fauna associated with them; not to mention our enjoyment of the serene beauty a stream ecosystem provides.
Stormwater protection is a program to prevent pollution of water resources by stormwater runoff. It is a subset of the NPDES program that addresses contamination from point and non-point sources carried to surface waters by stormwater runoff mainly through storm drains or across impervious surfaces. Permits are issued and must be abided based on best management practices for controlling contamination. At IUB sources of contamination that can be picked up by storm runoff include construction activities, facilities maintenance, accidental spills, and potentially illegal dumping. IUB has developed a management program to address these sources of contamination. The most visible component of this effort has been the marking of all storm drains on campus. Many of the drains on campus lead directly to the Jordan River, so it is imperative not to dump any trash or chemicals into the drains.
Indiana University Bloomington is a member of the Monroe County Storm Water Environmental Education Team (SWEET). Other SWEET member agencies include: Monroe County Government, Monroe County Soil & Water Conservation District, Monroe County Solid Waste Management District, Monroe County Purdue Extension Office, City of Bloomington, Town of Ellettsville, and Ivy Tech State College Bloomington. The SWEET conducts monthly meetings to share ideas and combine efforts on water quality education. The Indiana Department of Environmental Management recognized the efforts of the SWEET at the Annual MS4 Storm Water meetings in 2012 and 2013.
Water that enters a storm drain is routed directly into area waterways. Water that enters a sanitary sewer drain is routed to the local wastewater treatment facility for treatment prior to being released to area waterways.