Parker County was recently directed by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to establish a Stormwater Management Program to minimize or eliminate pollution to creeks and streams. A small area of land in the northeast portion of the county which drains into Ash Creek was designated as an “urbanized area” by the 2000 Census and will receive the focus of this program. This area is bounded by Highland Road and Highway 199 and runs south and east through Sanctuary to Ash Creek.
The program will include public education, illicit discharge detection, construction site runoff control, and mapping of all outfalls within the designated area. The purpose is to minimize pollution of creeks and streams following rain events. While the county does not have an underground storm water drainage system like those found in large cities, the series of drainage ditches located along both county and private roads which convey storm runoff to a nearby creek, accomplish the same purpose.
Residential & Commercial Effects
Both residences and commercial operations can cause pollution. Common sources of pollution from residential areas include excess use of fertilizers and pesticides on lawns and gardens, used motor oil that is not recycled, overflowing on-site sewage facilities, and pet waste that is allowed to accumulate. During a rain event, these materials can be washed into the drainage ditches and enter the creeks.
Polluted stormwater runoff can have many adverse effects on plants, animals, fish, and people. Sediments from construction sites can harm aquatic plants which help clean the water. Excess nutrients from fertilizers, animal waste, and sewage can cause algae blooms which start a process that could result in oxygen depletion in our streams; killing fish and other aquatic organisms. Pathogens from sewage can result in health risks to anyone who swims or wades in the water.
As Parker County continues to grow and the population density increases, it is more important than ever to be aware of how each of us can affect our environment. To have a positive effect, some daily practices to incorporate include:
- Do not over-water your lawn
- Use pesticides and fertilizers sparingly
- Compost or mulch yard waste
- Maintain your septic system
- Clean up after your pet
- Recycle waste oil and batteries
- Dispose of household hazardous waste properly
- Do not litter