Colorado State University Participates in Stormwater Program to Protect the Poudre River from Pollution

The devastation of Hurricane Katrina and Rita has left much of the Gulf Coast in ruins and submerged under contaminated water. While hurricanes are more prevalent along the Gulf Coast, flooding can occur anywhere. The 1997 flood that engulfed the Fort Collins community and the Colorado State University campus is an example of such a case. When flooding occurs, water easily becomes contaminated with pollutants that can have serious effects on human and environmental health.

The Fort Collins stormwater system was created to divert water quickly during large storm events and floods. The storm drains take excess water directly to the Poudre River rather than to treatment plants as sanitary sewers do. The resulting stormwater runoff is referred to as non-point source pollution, a leading source of water pollution, according to the National Water Quality Inventory.     

Every year, thousands of gallons of water from storms and snowmelt enter the storm drains of Fort Collins, taking with it numerous contaminants and pollutants such as pesticides, oils, metals, sediment and animal waste. To reduce the amount of sediment and pollution that enters surfaces and groundwater from storm sewer systems, the Environmental Protection Agency has enacted the Stormwater Program, also known as MS4, or Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems. Through this program, Colorado State is working to reduce the amount of pollution that reaches the Poudre River and Spring Creek from the campus community.

Colorado State University students, faculty and staff can help keep the waters around Fort Collins clean by:

– Properly disposing of all wastes including paint, car oil, grass clippings, etc.

– Cleaning up and properly disposing of pet waste.

– Maintaining and washing vehicles in appropriate places such as an established car wash.

– Placing refuse in appropriate containers.

– Reducing the use of pesticides and fertilizers in yards and gardens.

If you observe someone illegally discharging wastes around Colorado State, report the incident to Colorado State University’s Facilities Dispatch at 491-0099 or Colorado State University Police Department.