Storm Water Management
Golden Valley's water resources include Bassett Creek, recreational lakes, ponds, and wetlands. The City is proactive in managing its water resources, following goals and policies designed to enhance and maintain the quality of surface and ground water. These efforts reflect the value the community places on natural resources.
Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination (IDDE)
Illicit discharges include anything that enters a storm water system that is not composed entirely of storm water. They enter water bodies through direct connections (eg, wastewater piping connected to storm drains) or indirect connections (eg, cracked sanitary sewer systems, spills collected by storm drains, or paint or used oil dumped into a storm drain). The result is untreated discharges that contribute to high levels of pollutants, including heavy metals, toxins, oil and grease, solvents, nutrients, viruses, and bacteria.
Studies by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) show that pollutant levels from illicit discharges are high enough to significantly degrade water quality and threaten aquatic, wildlife, and human health.
Detecting Illicit Discharge
City crews are always on the lookout for illicit discharges to local waters while conducting their regular duties. They also conduct formal outfall inspections while performing other work. Employees who observe evidence of an illicit discharge collect information so appropriate action can be taken.
Citizens can help by learning as much as possible about what materials can go down storm drains and by being alert for potential illicit discharges to the storm sewer system. Every curb line is like a shoreline and needs to be treated the same. If you see something that looks out of place or notice illegal dumping, make sure to report it.
Reporting Illicit Discharge
Citizens who see illicit discharges can complete the IDDE reporting form or contact the water resources technician at 763-593-8044. If you witness illegal dumping, an emergency spill, or a situation that could immediately threaten life or public safety, call 911 immediately.
Quick response times are key to stopping pollutants, so promptly report any incidents as soon as you see them, including:
- murky water runoff
- an oily sheen on surface water
- dry weather flow
- unusual odors
- off color water
- residue left in the street after water has dried
- suspicious activity around storm drains
It’s important to collect as much information as possible at the time of initial observation, including potential sources, because of the likelihood that a discharge may be transitory or intermittent. Stopping illicit discharges will help secure a future of clean water for generations to come.
Living In a Watershed
A watershed is an area where storm water runoff goes to the same place. No matter where you live, you are in a watershed. In Golden Valley, nearly all the water runoff drains into Bassett Creek. The Bassett Creek Watershed is one of 46 major watersheds in the Twin Cities metropolitan area.
To picture a watershed, think of the entire surface area of Golden Valley as the top of a funnel. All the water that falls onto the surface of Golden Valley, through precipitation or intentionally through activities like lawn watering, is entering the top of that funnel. Water running down the funnel moves over pavement, streets, roof tops, and through private and public lawns. The water may go through lakes, ponds, streams, underground pipes connected to storm drains, or seep through the soil and travel underground. On its way down the funnel, the water collects anything stuck to the sides of the funnel--chemicals, leaves, fertilizers, grass clippings, etc. No matter how diverse its course, almost all water that enters the top of the funnel--the surface of Golden Valley--exits, with everything it has picked up, into Bassett Creek.
To learn more, watch the following Minnesota Pollution Control Agency video:
Managing a Watershed
As Golden Valley developed, more paved surfaces directed water to Bassett Creek and flood control became an issue. In 1969, Golden Valley joined Plymouth, Medicine Lake, Robbinsdale, Crystal, New Hope, Minnetonka, St Louis Park, and Minneapolis to form the Bassett Creek Flood Control Commission. Its primary focus was to control flooding of Bassett Creek.
As environmental awareness grew over the years, water quality became an issue. In 1982, the State passed the Metropolitan Surface Water Management Act, which required that a water management organization be established for each watershed in the metropolitan area. In response, the Bassett Creek Flood Control Commission became the Bassett Creek Watershed Management Commission (BCWMC). Since its inception in 1984, the BCWMC has maintained two primary concerns: flooding control and water quality management. It also regulates the surface water management plans of its nine member cities.
To learn more, watch the following Minnesota Pollution Control Agency videos:
- A Watershed Approach To Restoration And Protection: Part 2 - How We Got To Where We Are (2:19)
- A Watershed Approach To Restoration And Protection: Part 3 - The Watershed Approach And 10-year Cycle (4:04)
- A Watershed Approach To Restoration And Protection: Part 4 - Getting Involved In The Process (5:34)
- Bassett Creek Watershed Management Commission (BCWMC)
- Chapter 10: Surface Water from the City's Comprehensive Plan.