August 16, 2017
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City of RP Updates

Don Schwartz
The skinny on stormwater
August 11, 2017

Stormwater is a term that we have been hearing more and more about over the last 30 years and it is only going to get louder. But what exactly is stormwater and why is it important? And why am I hearing about stormwater in August?

Ask five people these three questions and you’ll likely get five different answers.  “Stormwater is rain that has fallen from the sky during a storm right?” Sounds good to me. “It is important for us to focus on stormwater because storms can cause floods.” Also a good answer. But the full importance of stormwater is actually a bit more involved.    

To put it simply, stormwater is the rainwater that doesn’t soak into the ground.  It is important for us to focus on stormwater for several reasons, including water quality and the health of our environment.  Similar to fire protection agencies clearing out woody debris in forests or homeowners creating defensible space around their home before fire season, focusing on stormwater now prepares us to deal with stormwater later.   

Rainwater that falls onto our driveways and streets flows directly to our creeks and flood control channels through storm drains and pipes – our storm sewer system. Other sources of water such as run off from sprinklers, hoses, and mop buckets can also enter the system. While flowing to the system, pollutants such as pesticides, oil, plastic and trash are picked up. These make their way into our creeks and rivers, where they pollute the water and harm plant and animal wildlife.  Our creeks generally flow from east to west and ultimately converge at the intersection of Stony Point Road and Rohnert Park Expressway to form one big waterway that drains into the Russian River, where much of our drinking water comes from. 

Last question:  “How can I help?”  There are numerous ways you can keep our stormwater sewer system clean:

Minimize or eliminate the use of pesticides and fertilizer in your yard.

Don’t litter and pick up and dispose of pet waste properly.

Keep your car properly maintained and leak-free.

Properly store and dispose household toxics such as paints and chemicals.

Seek out volunteer opportunities in our community and become a part of the solution.

The city’s Stormwater Management Plan assists the community in preventing stormwater pollution.  For more information please visit our website  To learn more about ways you can help your community through volunteering, please call 588-3302.  

Putting anything other than rainwater into gutters, storm drains or creeks is a violation of the city’s stormwater ordinance.  To report a stormwater issue such as spills or dumping that could enter the storm drain, please call Public Works at 588-3300.  Remember, Only Rain Down the Drain!

Road Improvements: The City is undertaking projects to preserve and improve our roads. These range from rebuilding roads to applying treatments that keep good roads in a good condition. Major reconstruction will continue on Rohnert Park Expressway west of Snyder Lane, and will begin on Snyder Lane north of Lawrence Jones Middle School. In addition, the city will be using various coating and resurface techniques to improve pavement conditions in A, G and H sections and along Redwood Drive, Commerce Boulevard and Southwest Boulevard.

Winter storms and the need to coordinate with others have resulted in a later start to construction season than normal, and we appreciates residents’ patience and attention to safety. Updates on construction activity can be found in the Community Spotlight section of the City’s website. 

The City is extending the swim season! All pools will remain open through the Labor Day weekend for their regularly scheduled hours. No public swim will be offered at Honeybee Pool on Monday, September 4, but will be available at Benicia and Magnolia from 12 to 4 p.m.