Storm water (PDF) is rain water that runs from streets, construction sites, parking lots, buildings and other areas into storm drains and eventually local streams and rivers. To protect water quality and ensure compliance with state and federal regulations, Environmental Health and Safety administers the storm water management program (PDF). Towson also follows specific parking lot cleanup procedures to reduce storm water pollution following campus events.
Maryland has produced a citizens' guide to storm water management (PDF) that provides helpful information on mitigating pollution of our waterways. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency provides general information on storm water management, as well as specific information relative to municipal separate stormwater sewer systems (MS4s) like the one at Towson. They have a helpful video sharing what you can do to prevent water pollution and assist with storm water clean up.
Contact the TUPD immediately at 410-704-4444 if you notice an illicit discharge, including something spilling into storm water drains or someone polluting the drains. Please be prepared to provide information on the date and time you observed the spill or pollution, as well as the spill location, description, source and the responsible party (if known). If you have access to a camera, photographs would be very helpful.
TU's stormwater map uses GIS technology to share up-to-date information on the university's storm water management system and immediate resources for determining the source of any illicit discharges. The map helps TU improve the response time to such discharges, helping reduce the risk to the public health and environment. This project was undertaken in connection with the settlement of an enforcement action taken by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the violation of the Federal Clean Water Act.
TU professor Joel Moore is establishing a water resources facility for researching and teaching about the
impact of urban storm water, and Towson's Urban Environmental Biogeochemistry Laboratory
has studied the impacts of stormwater runoff.
Many rivers in the mid-Atlantic region have become entrenched due to a combination of increased stormwater runoff from impervious surfaces and down cutting through historic sediments accumulated behind colonial-era mill dams. Stream entrenchment means that waters laden with sediments and nutrients are exported directly to the Chesapeake Bay, rather than flowing over streambanks and being deposited on floodplains. Restoration practices to address this issue typically involve removal of accumulated historic sediments and reshaping the landscape to reconnect the stream with its floodplain. This project, funded by the Chesapeake Bay Trust, aims to assess the efficacy of these restoration projects. TU professors Joel Moore, Vanessa Beauchamp, Ryan Casey and Chris Salice are studying four streams restored by Ecotone Inc., and comparing water chemistry, sediment concentration and vegetation composition before and after restoration. These streams are located in watersheds with 1.5 to 56% impervious surface cover to determine how watershed condition effects restoration outcomes.