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Graham is among many cities across the nation that have plans and policies to reduce stormwater pollution under the federal NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) Phase II Stormwater Requirements. The City received its NPDES Stormwater Permit on July 1, 2005 and completes a Phase II Stormwater Annual Report.

Under the NPDES Permit requirements, the City of Graham is responsible for the quality of the stormwater that drains from property and flows into the storm sewer system and discharges to state waters. To address these requirements, the City has developed a comprehensive stormwater management program that addresses public education, public participation, illicit discharge detection and elimination, construction site runoff control, post-construction stormwater management, and good housekeeping in municipal operations.

Why is stormwater runoff a problem?

Stormwater runoff carries dirt, grime, fertilizers, oil, gas and everything else we leave on the ground into our streams and water bodies. This stormwater runoff can result in:

  • Rivers, lakes and streams that may be too dirty to fish in, to swim in, or to drink from.
  • Increased levels of fecal bacteria in the water.
  • Excess nutrients in the water causing algae blooms, fish kills and increased water treatment costs.

The most visible consequence of stormwater runoff is flash flooding and the damage it brings. As land is developed, more and more stormwater runs directly to streams or rivers; sometimes more water than streams and rivers can hold. The additional water overflows and may flood streets, businesses and homes. For more information, check out “Stormwater and You” or visit Stormwater SMART.

Why do I have to pay for it?

Everyone contributes to stormwater pollution problems and everyone must be part of the solution. All real property experiences stormwater run-on and runoff regardless if a drainage concern exists on that specific piece of property or not. Even if your property has never flooded, the stormwater that flows off your property must be managed so that it does not contribute to flooding or pollution in areas downstream. Whether you live in a condominium, a suburban home or in an urban setting, stormwater is an issue.

NPDES Phase II is an unfunded federal mandate that requires the City of Graham to implement a comprehensive stormwater management program. The City has implemented a fee to fund the stormwater management program to be compliant with Federal and State regulations, safeguard our community through improving drainage systems, and to improve stormwater runoff pollution of local waters.