Storm Water Terms Q - Z

  • Release
    Any spilling, leaking, pumping, pouring, emitting, emptying, discharging, injecting, escaping, leaching, dumping, or disposing into ground-water, subsurface soils, surface soils, the municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4), the Waters of the State, or the Waters of the United States.

    A discharge is a type of release. As you can see, a release just means that a pollutant has been made available to the environment. Many releases are accidental, though there are instances where people have intentionally released harmful substances.
  • Storm water pollution prevention plan (SWPPP or SWP3)
    A plan required by a permit to discharge storm water associated with construction activity, and which describes and ensures the implementation of practices that are to be used to reduce the pollutants in storm water discharges associated with construction activity.

    This is how the regulatory agencies, the County and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), attempt to ensure the water discharged from construction sites is not harmful to the health of those who will use the lakes for recreation and drinking water sources. The SWPPP will outline the activities to be performed at the construction site, and what mitigation measures will be performed to eliminate or reduce polluting the waters as a result of those activities.
  • Storm Water Map (JPG) Opens in new windowStorm Water
    Any water that flows during, or following, any form of natural precipitation, and is a result of such precipitation, including snow melt.

    Luckily, we do not have to worry about snow melt too much around here. But it should be noted that not all storm water is visible. Much of the storm water is flowing under our feet through drainage pipes. All of the storm drains along our streets divert the water somewhere. That is why it is important not to dump harmful chemicals or other substances down storm drains, and to use chemicals on our lawns in moderation. All of the storm drainage eventually finds its way into one of the lakes we all use as a place to play and get our drinking water. The more stuff in our drinking water sources, the more expensive it is to treat the water to make it drinkable, and the higher the cost will be. Those using water wells are not exempt either. If a contaminate makes it way down to the well, it generally has to be abandoned. Depending on how significant the contamination is, a very large area of underground water may become undrinkable.
  • Texas Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (TPDES)
    The program created for the State of Texas by TCEQ as agreed upon by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) pursuant to 33 USC Section 1342(b).

    This is the State Regulation that the Storm Water Program is designed to comply with. If the County is found to be in non-compliance, fines and other punitive measures can be enforced until compliance is achieved. Developers involved in construction activities in Denton County must also comply with the TPDES regulations or face fines and the other punitive measures.
  • Uncontaminated
    Not containing a harmful quantity of any substance.

    It was once thought that areas where people had not set foot were pristine and uncontaminated. This has been shown to not always be the case. Polar bears have been found to contain pollutants that were never manufactured or used any where near their habitats. Some streams in very remote areas have been found to contain higher levels of some pollutants than streams in the middle of cities. Therefore, the term uncontaminated means just that, there are no harmful quantities of any substance.
  • Watershed
    Land areas that catch rain or snow and drain to specific:
    • Ground water
    • Lakes
    • Marshes
    • Rivers
    • Streams

      Various organizations, federal, state and local, depict watersheds differently. The county boundary covers two federally recognized hydrologic units: The Elm Fork of the Trinity and Denton Creek. The hydrologic units are named based on the major river that drains the areas. At the confluence, or meeting, of large rivers, the hydrologic units join to create a new hydrologic unit. This occurs slightly south of Denton County in Dallas County where Denton Creek joins the Elm Fork of the Trinity River. Subsequently, Denton County recognizes four watersheds, one for each of the lakes, and an additional watershed draining the area south of Lake Lewisville and east of Lake Grapevine. A map of the watersheds can be viewed by clicking on the small image in the lower left corner. The watersheds can be further reduced into smaller sub-watersheds that are made up of the areas draining the smaller feeder streams to the major rivers.
  • Wetland
    An area that is inundated or saturated by surface or ground-water at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances does support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions. Wetlands generally include swamps, marshes, bogs, and similar areas.

    Wetlands are often some of the most beautiful places to be found. They tend to be a habitat for migratory birds, and have an incredibly diverse collection of plants, animals, and insects that make the wetland their permanent home. Aside from this, wetlands perform environmental services no other type of land classification can. They are excellent for filtering water-borne pollutants. They also help slow water down, decreasing floods downstream. However, wetlands are very sensitive to how much water enters. If the amount of water is decreased, even a small amount, this could have catastrophic consequences for the wetland.