History and Mission
From 1978-1983, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) funded a series of studies known as the National Urban Runoff Program (NURP). These results proved that storm water contained many of the same pollutants as sewage systems.These studies put pressure on the EPA to implement permits for storm water discharge. The EPA resisted a full permitting effort due to the burden of having to process a large amount of permit applications.
Congress allowed the EPA to issue permits with a focus on the most contaminated storm water discharges. In late 2003, the first generation of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) MS4 (municipal separate storm sewer systems) permit was created to allow MS4’s to discharge storm water.
This required municipalities, including the City of Westlake, to develop and implement a Storm Water Management Plan (SWMP) to reduce the discharge of pollutants. The plan must focus on 6 minimum control measures set by the EPA:
Public Education and Outreach
Public Involvement and Participation
Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination
Construction Site Storm Water Runoff Control
Post Construction Storm Water Management
Pollution Prevention and Good Housekeeping for Municipal Operations
In 2005, the Westlake Watershed Group was founded to help fulfill these requirements. The group's mission is to raise awareness of storm water quality and to promote healthy living and encouraging the community to "Go Green."
Meetings are Open to All
The Westlake Watershed Group, a volunteer citizen’s committee comprised of Westlake residents, business people and City employees, was vested to meet the public education and involvement goals in the plan. Its meetings are open to the public and held at least four times a year at City Hall. A continental breakfast is provided.
The next scheduled meeting is Friday, September 29, 2017 at 7:30 a.m.
Goals for 2017
Install creek signs throughout the city in the 7 major creeks: Porter, Wilhelmy, Schwartz, Cahoon, Wischmeyer, Wolf, and Sperry. The group would also like to have educational signs at the watershed locations: Porter, Schwartz, Cahoon, Wischmeyer, Wolf and Sperry.
Conduct stream cleanups throughout the year. Planning for the first cleanup for April/May is underway. Watch this page for more information as it becomes available.
Hold a stream sampling educational event
Continue retention basin inspections with the Soil and Water Conservation District
City of Westlake Watersheds
Public Educational Initiatives
Annual Rain and Garden Show
The City of Westlake and the Westlake Watershed Group sponsor the annual Rain and Garden Show to raise awareness on stormwater quality issues and to promote eco-friendly products and healthy living. Residents and businesses can meet with City departments and local vendors.
The theme for the 2017 show is "Sustainability." Previous years' themes include:
Posters have been distributed throughout the city to encourage residents to minimize the use of chemical fertilizers.
Wash Your Car, Not the Stream Campaign
This poster is displayed on the Engineering Department counter and other locations in the city to educate the public on how to wash their cars with minimum impact on environment. Untreated soap water can travel down the impervious surfaces of your driveway and sidewalk into the sewer and then into our streams which ultimately takes it to Lake Erie. Most soap used to wash vehicles contains phosphates and other chemicals that are harmful to fish, frogs and other wildlife.
Instead, pull your vehicle onto a grass or stone area before washing. The grass, soil and dirt are nature’s way of absorbing and purifying the water before it goes into our waterways.
Southbridge stream restoration and Columbia Creek stream restoration are two of our special projects we have work on in the recent past. We have also converted existing retention basins into water quality preserves. Old detention/retention basins serve little to no water quality functions.
Dover Ditch Stream Restoration is the 2017 project. New restoration allows storm water to be treated naturally as it meanders through the preserve. Educational overlook at these locations.
Public Involvement and Participation
Show Your “Green” Pride
Westlake residents can visit the Engineering Department to explain or show pictures of how they are "going green."
Residents will receive a “Go Green for Westlake, For the World” yard sign to display in their yard.
Cleanup Volunteer Projects
One of our recent Cleanup projects that brought volunteers together was the Cahoon Creek Cleanup held on Sunday, September 18, 2016.