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With winter rains approaching, the Placer County Public Works Stormwater Quality Division is reminding residents, businesses and contractors that everyone has a responsibility to keep pollutants from entering the storm drain system and waterways.

The easiest way to prevent contaminants such as chemicals, oils and greases, cement products, animal wastes and sediments from getting into the stormwater system is to keep them from running off your property. Containing these pollutants on properties, construction sites, or places of business will help reduce the chance of pollutants becoming part of the surface runoff and entering water resources. Additionally, contractors should have erosion-control devices installed or ready to be installed in anticipation of rain. Placer County advises residents to inspect their properties, construction sites and businesses for any potential pollutants and to take steps to prevent pollutants from being exposed to rainfall or discharged from the properties.

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To aid contractors, the Stormwater Quality Division is hosting three training sessions in cooperation with Roseville, Auburn, Truckee and other local jurisdictions:

ยท Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2008, 9 to 11 a.m. at the Town of Truckee City Hall, 10183 Truckee Airport Road;

ยท Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2008, 8 a.m. to noon in the Placer County Board of Supervisors Chambers, 175 Fulweiler Ave., Auburn;

ยท Thursday, Oct. 30, 2008, 8 a.m. to noon in the City of Roseville Corporation Yard, 2005 Hilltop Circle.

‘The biggest threat to the county’s natural water resources is from sediment that runs off exposed soil,’ said Bill Schell of the Placer County Stormwater Quality Division. ‘Ensuring graded or disturbed areas and bare landscape areas are covered or planted will help keep sediment on site and prevent it from getting into stormwater runoff.’

Area waterways are protected by the federal Clean Water Act and the California Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act. Placer County has an active Stormwater Quality Program to implement these regulations. In 2006 the federal Environmental Protection Agency estimated that half of the nation’s waterways are polluted to the point of being considered impaired. A significant source of pollutants affecting waterways is urban runoff. This water is often the result of the hard, impervious surfaces, such as rooftops, paved roads and parking areas typically found in urban environments. These hard impervious surfaces are often covered with pollutants that get washed into storm drains and then make their way into local waterways. The stormwater systems in place typically have little or no ability to treat or remove pollutants. Before urbanization, a great deal of the rain and snow would be naturally absorbed into the ground, evaporate or flow slowly on top of the ground on its way to a local waterway.

The County’s Stormwater Program goals include public education and involvement, construction site review and illegal discharge detection. Placer’s Stormwater Quality regulations can be found in County Code Section 8.28.

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