Stormwater Management is Our Shared Responsibility
UM-Flint is fortunate to be located adjacent to the Flint River in Downtown Flint in the Flint River Watershed. The community is home to many individuals, businesses, community organizations, schools/colleges/universities, and governmental agencies that recognize the Flint River as one of the great assets of our community and are committed to protecting and improving this resource for all to enjoy. Historically, the post-industrial environmental conditions resulting from the extensive industrial activity over the last hundred years present an ongoing challenge to our community and overall watershed management. These historical industrial activities included lumber, carriage & auto manufacturing and repair, energy generation, and others. Although presented with challenges to the protection and improvement of water quality in our watershed, many committed and longstanding partnerships have developed and work in collaboration to revitalize, restore and enhance our community’s recognized greatest natural resource, the Flint River.
UM-Flint is only one of many committed organizations in Flint working to protect the Flint River (through the combined efforts of EHS, University Outreach, Facilities & Operations, Event & Building Services, Flint River Corridor Alliance, Flint River Watershed Coalition, Student organizations, and many others…) they have improved the quality and aesthetics of the Flint River. The University’s implementation of the UM Storm Water Management Program; the Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure Plan; Contractor & Construction Safety requirements; River Restoration and Clean-Up initiatives and general involvement are just some of the efforts underway to protect the Flint River.
Improving the protection and management of stormwater, helps ensure that surface water quality is improved and maintained. That means cleaner water for all of us and our children to fish, swim, kayak, canoe and generally enjoy. We all can work together toward this important vision and protect one of our communities’ greatest shared assets… the Flint River.
What is Watershed?
“That area of land, a bounded hydrologic system, within which all living things are inextricably linked by their common water course and where, as humans settled, simple logic demanded that they become part of a community”. – Wesley Powell (Scientist and Geographer)
Essentially, a watershed is the area of land where all of the water that is under it or drains off of it goes into the same place.
The City of Flint is part of the Flint River Watershed and any water that runs off from any portion of the University property or City eventually flows into the Flint River. University of Michigan-Flint is focused on protecting storm drains from all contaminants; and preventing run off of sediment and pollutants from entering navigable waters like the Flint River.
The Flint River Watershed Coalition (FRWC) , Future Urban & Environmental Leaders (FUEL) and Flint River Corridor Alliance (FRCA) are principle leaders and partners in our community providing vision, education, outreach and leadership in the area of stormwater management and river preservation/protection. Visit their web site to learn more about the watershed you live in or how to get involved in various fun volunteer opportunities.
Why is stormwater management important?
Stormwater management is important to all communities, particularly Flint because it focuses on controlling sources of runoff and preventing flooding by collecting stormwater and transporting it off site while at the same time not causing adverse effects to our environment. By improving our collective efforts in stormwater management we can prevent downstream flooding, stream bank erosion, increased turbidity, habitat destruction, changes in streamflow, sewer overflow, infrastructure damage, and contamination of aquifers, streams, rivers, and our Irreplaceable Great Lakes. Additionally, we can preserve our rivers and lakes for safe and enjoyable recreation.
What is UM-Flint Doing to Improve Water Quality?
- Campus Community Stormwater Education
EHS educates university staff, students, and the public on the importance of stormwater management and how it affects surface water quality and our vital ecosystems as part of our Stormwater Management Plan and in compliance with the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES).
Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan & Other Preventative Measures
The goal of UM-Flint’s Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) is to improve water quality by maximizing control of significant materials and reducing the level of such materials in stormwater so the discharges from the Facilities and Operations (F&O) complex will not cause a violation of Michigan’s surface water quality standards. The UM-Flint campus is covered under the UM-Ann Arbor’s NPDES Permit No. MIS040090. As a condition of the coverage under MIS040090, The UM-Ann Arbor’s Stormwater Management Program Plan (SWMPP) includes the regional campuses (Dearborn and Flint).
The contents of UM-Flint’s SWPPP are outlined below;
- Campus Map
- List of all significant materials that could pollute stormwater
- An evaluation and written description of the reasonable potential for contribution of significant materials to run off
- Identification of the discharge point(s) through which material may be discharged if released
- A listing of all significant spills and significant leaks of significant polluting materials
- A summary of existing stormwater discharge sampling data.
- SWPPP Maintenance
- Comprehensive Site Inspection (Quarterly)
- Housekeeping Procedures
- Material Handling Procedures and Storage Requirements
- Spill Prevention and Response
- Erosion and Sediment Control
- Employee Training – SWPPP PowerPoint
- Significant Materials Expected to be in Stormwater Discharges
- Structural Controls for Prevention and Treatment
Monitoring and enforcement of environmental requirements on the UM Flint Campus is accomplished through a sustained and collaborative effort on behalf of the University’s EHS, DPS, F&O, and other departments on the Flint and Ann Arbor campuses. Several University environmental programs exist and administered through UM Flint EHS that provide clear guidelines when performing activities that may have the potential to impact stormwater, surface water, soil, or other environmental conditions. and resources. Some of these program include the following:
- UM-Flint Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP)
- U-M Storm Water Management Program Plan (SWMPP)
- U-M NPDES Mid-Year Report – March 2021
- U-M NPDES Annual Report – October 2020
- U-M NPDES Mid-Year Report – March 2020
- Spill Prevention Control Countermeasure & Pollutant Incident Prevention Plan (SPCC & PIPP)
- Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control (SESC) – U-M Procedure
- Proactive UM Contractor Safety Requirements
These programs work together to help improve storm and surface water quality.
Think & Act Going Beyond Compliance
How can we further enhance our collective efforts in stormwater management and surface water protection?
- Improving UM-Flint water discharge quality.
- Consistent monitoring and protecting of storm drains by university staff.
- Utilizing Best Management Practices (BMP’s) or improving standard operating procedures.
- Containment of work site.
- Monitor and enforce BMP’s internally and with contractors.
Best Management Practices
Expanding our environmental stewardship of our campus community and pushing to further improve environmental quality, particularly water quality of the Flint River and the Flint River Watershed is beneficial to ensure the future of our natural resources.