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General Stormwater

Question: What is stormwater?

Answer: Put simply, stormwater is water runoff from storms. In the City of Corpus Christi, the majority of our stormwater is rain water, but stormwater also includes water from hail and snow.

Question: What is stormwater pollution?

Answer: As stormwater flows over paved surfaces, it collects materials including litter, animal waste, pesticides, fertilizers, oil, grease, loose dirt, and other substances that can pollute water. Unlike wastewater, stormwater is not treated or cleaned before it enters our bays and estuaries, so any substances it collects will flow into these waters.

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Yard Waste

Question: What is yard waste?

Answer: Yard waste is any plant material generated from residential gardens, lawns, and yards. It includes grass clippings, brush, leaves, tree trimmings, tree trunks, and root balls.

Yard waste does not include any non-plant material. Yard waste does not include tools or household items.

Question: Where should I leave my yard waste?

Answer: During designated set-out periods, you can put your heavy brush and yard waste on the City’s right-of-way. Check your heavy brush pick up day here. Smaller materials can be put in your trash bin for regular pick up.

City Ordinance (Article II, Sec. 21-12) states you may not leave your yard waste on the street pavement, in the gutter, on a sidewalk or in a drainage ditch. In right-of-way areas where there is no practical alternative, you may be allowed to set your yard waste in a drainage ditch, but you may be liable if there is any flooding damage downstream of your yard waste.

Question: What should I do with my grass clippings?

Answer: Grass clippings can be composted or left on your lawn. As the grass decomposes, it returns nutrients to your lawn. As a result, your yard will need less or no fertilizer.

City Ordinance (Article XVI. Sec. 55-203) prohibits grass clippings and leaves from being blown or swept into the street, gutters, or into a storm drain.

Intentionally blowing or sweeping grass clippings into the streets or gutters can subject you to fines of up to $2,000 per violation per day.

Question: Why can’t I leave grass on the street or sidewalk?

Answer: Grass left on the street blows into the gutters with the wind and passing traffic and can end up in storm water inlets and drains. When it rains, grass clippings can flow and clog storm drains and cause localized flooding. The grass can also flow through the drainage system directly into our rivers, creeks, bays where it rots. Bacteria that break down the vegetation use oxygen, making less oxygen available for aquatic wildlife like fish and oysters.

Question: Who is responsible for cleaning the curb and gutter outside my home or business?

Answer: City Ordinance (Article I, Sec. 49-10) places responsibility for keeping street curbs and gutters clean on the abutting property owner, lessee or tenant. If you own, lease, or are the tenant of a residence or commercial or vacant property, you are responsible for keeping your curb and gutter clean.

The definition of “clean” is that it is clear of sand, leaves, or dirt. Additionally, you cannot allow grass or weeds to grow on or extend over curbs and gutters.

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Pet Waste

Question: Is there a law that requires me to pick up my dog’s poop?

Answer: Yes, City ordinance 22.11 requires the owner or person in control of an animal to remove any feces deposited by the animal on public or private property immediately. Animal feces deposited upon on the owner’s private property must be collected and removed daily.

Question: Why do I have to scoop my dog’s poop?

Answer: Pet waste contains bacteria and parasites like ringworm, salmonella, Giardia, and E. coli – to name just a few. Just one gram of dog waste can contain up to 23 million fecal coliform bacteria. Fecal coliform are bacteria are known to cause serious health problems in humans, like intestinal illness and kidney disorders. Once these water-borne pathogens enter water bodies, like our bays and estuaries, they can make the water unfit for swimming and other recreational activities.

Pet waste can pollute our bays and estuaries in other ways. When pet waste enters our water, it starts to rot or decompose, a process that uses up oxygen.  Pet waste also contains nutrients that promote the growth of aquatic plants and algae. Unfortunately, this overgrowth only lasts a short period of time before the plants and algae start to die. As the plants and algae die, they being to rot, a process that uses oxygen. These low oxygen levels can lead to the die-off of fish and other wildlife.

Question: Why can wildlife poop outside, but my dog can’t?

Answer: Wildlife and birds eat food that is found outside, like plants, insects, and other wildlife. As they digest they extract some nutrients from these sources, and anything they cannot use leaves their body in feces or urine. This means that native wildlife are using nutrients from their home, and returning any unused nutrients back to their original area. There is no increase or decrease in nutrients between the plants, insects, and other wildlife in the ecosystem. Pet foods that we feed our dogs are designed to be nutritious and healthy. However, the nutrients in the pet food don’t originate from the area where our pets live, so any nutrients found in dog waste increase the amount of nutrients in the environment.

Question: Can I use dog waste as a fertilizer?

Answer: No, dog waste should not be used as a fertilizer. While cow or horse manure are often used as fertilizers, the diet of these animals is very different from dogs and not all animal waste is the same. The diet of the animal is the primary factor in determining if animal waste will be beneficial to your soil. A good rule to follow is that if an animal is an herbivore, eating only plant matter, the waste can be used as a fertilizer. Since cows and horses eat plants, their manure can be used for fertilizer. Dogs, on the other hand, mostly eat meat so their waste should not be used for fertilizer.

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Construction

Question: What is required to install a driveway culvert to a private residence or commercial property?

Answer: Before installing (or replacing) a driveway culvert, please contact Development Services at (361) 826-3240 to obtain a driveway or culvert permit. You will be advised to contact the Stormwater – Maintenance of Lines Division when you are ready to install the pipe so that the proper grade will be provided for you; and, when you are ready to backfill so a final inspection can be made.

Question: Why is runoff from construction sites a concern for stormwater pollution?

Answer: Common pollutants of construction site runoff include sediment, solid and sanitary waste, oil and grease, concrete truck washout, and other construction chemicals. However, of this list the main pollutant of concern is sediment. Sediment is the most common pollutant of surface water in the United States. Sediment pollution can come from a variety of sources including agriculture, urban runoff, industrial sites, and construction sites. However, more sediment runs off construction sites compared to other land uses. Even minor construction projects, like room additions, can contribute to sediment pollution if not managed properly.

Question: What is sediment?

Answer: Sediment is loose dirt and soil. Sediment can come from two sources: decomposition or erosion. Decomposition is the process that breaks down plants and animals. Erosion is the process that removes dirt, soil, and rock from one location on the earth’s surface and moves it to another location. Erosion is a natural process that is influenced by the movement of wind and water. However, human activities that disturb the land can make erosion happen more quickly, and can lead to water pollution.

Question: How does sediment pollute our creeks, streams, bays, and estuaries?

Answer:

  • Sediment fills up storm drains and catch basins that carry rain water away, increasing the potential for flooding.
     
  • Sediment can make water cloudy, preventing animals such as fish and birds from being able to see their food.
     
  • Cloudy water can kill plants that live in water and prevent new plants from growing in the water.
     
  • Sediment can clog the gills of fish, making it difficult for fish to breathe. Fish may avoid areas that have too much sediment.
     
  • Sediment can fill up natural water bodies, altering the flow of water making it unsuitable for fish and other animals, and making it difficult to boat.
     
  • Sediment can increase the temperature of the water, making it difficult for plants, fish and other wildlife to survive.

  • Chemical pollutants attach to and are carried along with the sediment to the receiving water body. Bacterial pollution is also associated with sediment.

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Curb - Standing Water

Question: Why is there standing water in my curb or gutter? Can it be fixed?

Answer: This is typical of many areas throughout the City where the curb may have settled, causing the water to pond in low spots.

Please call the City of Corpus Christi Call Center at (361) 826-CITY (2489) to report the location. Stormwater – Maintenance of Lines division staff will investigate the location to determine if the section of the curb and gutter should be added to the list of locations for rehabilitation or replacement. The Streets Operations Department is responsible for rehabilitation and replacement operations

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Ditch Mowing

 

Question: Who is responsible for mowing stormwater ditches?

Answer: The adjacent property owner is responsible for mowing ditches along residential properties.

Generally, the Stormwater – Maintenance of Lines division and the Parks and Recreation Department are responsible for mowing ditches in drainage right-of-ways and along all other unimproved streets.

There are certain special residential locations where the City mows the adjacent ditches that are too steep (for example, some areas along Horne Road) or the ditches are on dual sides (for example, Houston Street).

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Drain Inlets – Clogged Question

Question: What should I do if the storm drain inlet is clogged in my area?

Answer: Report the clogged drain to the City of Corpus Christi Hotline at (361) 826-2489. The Stormwater – Maintenance of Lines division is responsible for cleaning over 18,000 storm drain inlets throughout the City. Stormwater – Maintenance of Lines staff will investigate and schedule the inlet for cleaning.

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Flooding Questions

Question: Is street flooding normal?

Answer: Yes. In most areas, the streets are considered to be a part of the drainage system. During a typical rainfall event, water will flow through storm sewers located underneath the street or in roadside ditches to a drainage channel. When the capacity of the storm sewers or roadside ditches is exceeded, the street itself will hold the water until the storm sewer or roadside ditch has additional room to drain the water.

Question: My street floods. How do I get something done about this problem?

Answer: The City’s Utility Department will investigate and inspect the storm sewer and ditch systems for breaks / blockages and make repairs as needed. However, if the drainage system is found to be operating as designed with no defects, the area may still experience flooding during moderate to heavy rain events. When defects are found, requests will be referred for evaluation under the City's Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). This request will be ranked against other requests / projects and prioritized accordingly. Please call the City of Corpus Christi Call Center at (361) 826-CITY (2489) to report flooding.

Question: I am having a drainage issue within my lot or from a surrounding lot. What should I do?

A drainage problem within your lot or water running from lot-to-lot is considered to be a civil matter and is not regulated by the City of Corpus Christi. Contact an engineer or landscape professional to assist you in solving these matters.

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Illegal Dumping

Question: What should I do if I see someone dumping into a storm drain, storm inlet, or ditch?

Answer: Immediately report the illegal dumping to the City of Corpus Christi Call Center at (361) 826-CITY (2489). You may leave the information anonymously, however all information is helpful including photos of the illegal dumping that occurred.

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Draining Swimming Pools

Question: Can I drain a swimming pool into the storm drain?

Answer: The City’s Code of Ordinances allows you to discharge swimming pool water into the stormwater drainage system, provided that the water is de-chlorinated. The water must be tested prior to discharge using a method approved by the Director of Public Health to make sure that it does not contain a harmful level of chlorine or other pollutants.  You should also call 826-1863 or email Stormwater@cctexas.com to notify the Stormwater Pollution Prevention Team so that we are aware and can verify the lab testing.

Filter backwash water must be directed to the sanitary sewer system.