Sources of Stormwater Pollutants?

Sometimes when toxic chemicals at industrial and commercial sites are not properly managed, toxic chemical leaks and spills can accidently occur to the ground and paved surfaces. Most often leaks and spills happen in uncovered or unprotected outdoor chemical storage or waste areas, or where smoke stacks spew out toxic air emissions. Also, construction sites can generate waste since chemicals and materials are used and disturbed soil that is not contained can erode and wash into our waterways. These are ways that toxic chemicals pollute stormwater runoff.

At home, vehicles can drip fluids onto paved surfaces where stormwater runoff carries them through our storm drains and into our waterways. Pet wastes left on the ground can get carried away by stormwater, contributing harmful bacteria, parasites and viruses to our waterways. Pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides used to grow and maintain lawns and gardens, if not used properly, can run off into the storm drains when it rains or when we water our lawns or gardens. Chemicals improperly used in crop production can be toxic to aquatic life and can contribute to over-enrichment of the water, causing excess algae growth and oxygen depletion.

Finally, illegal and/or inappropriate connections and other discharges to storm sewers can be a significant way for hazardous materials to enter stormwater and eventually impact surface water features.

If you see anyone dumping something down a storm drain or inlet, please call the City Dispatcher at 269-337-8148 during the daytime or after hours.

The City of Kalamazoo's Involvement

The City has Performance Standards for Groundwater Protection within Wellhead Protection Capture Zones and General Stormwater Quality Management. The standards are implemented when properties are developed, repurposed or rebuilt through the General Site Plan Review Standards (e.g. site design, process activities, regulated substance storage and waste) and include:

  • Land Use Specific Site Plan Review Standards (e.g. dry cleaning, fueling, repair shops, junk/salvage yards)
  • Stormwater Quality Management Criteria (e.g. groundwater risk assessment, discharge strategies, treatment, spill containment)
  • Non-Conforming Land Uses
  • Potentially Applicable Environmental Regulations
  • Contaminated Properties


The City of Kalamazoo implements and enforces water quality standards using the following:

  • Stormwater Ordinance (Chapter 29)
  • Performance Standards Ordinance (Ordinance 1826) (PDF)
  • Performance Standards Document (PDF)
  • Wellhead Protection Zoning Overlay

Surface Water & Groundwater Interaction Study, Spring Valley Lake by WMU