Rain Shower After Drought

It has been very dry since April 15th. Other than a rainy Sunday in early June, it has been very hot, dry and windy. Gee Creek flows are much lower than last year at this time and most fish are not able to move upstream or downstream, being trapped in pools.

On Saturday afternoon we has a brief rainstorm that put a little less than 0.20″ in a half hour or so. It was enough to charge the city’s storm water system. When it has been dry for a while there is a build up of pollutants on the streets and other hard surfaces that drain to the storm water system.

 

The photo above was taken Saturday afternoon as the rain shower was ending.  The plume of sediment is the discharge of the storm sewer pipe from Old Town Ridgefield.  It collects drainage from Pioneer Street to Division Street and between North 5th Avenue to North Main Avenue.

The photo above was taken below the Heron Ridge Bridge and shows the storm water being mixed into the stream flow.  This is the entire creek flow.  Since the flow on Gee Creek is so very low this year there is less dilution of any storm water pollution that enters the  creek.

 

The photo above is at the storm water pipe in the Heron Ridge Storm Water Facility where it just enters.  The foam is likely from detergents people use when washing their vehicles.  Any thing on any surface that drains to the street ends up in the storm water system.

 

This photo is of the pond in the Heron Ridge Facility after the rain shower.  Its interesting that this pond had been dry for several weeks.  Consider what may be in this water.  The presence of soaps and detergents seems obvious.  It also could have doggy doo, herbicides and fertilizers leached from peoples yards.  That’s the value of a treatment facility.  If it is working properly, most of the  contaminants  will be removed before being put into the creek

I introduced myself to new public works director Justin Clary in June of 2004 as part of a senior project  at WSU.  I told him that old town storm water pollution was a serious problem and encouraged him to consider building a facility to treat it.  The city created a storm water utility in September of 2005  and began billing residents for storm water in 2006.  If the funds collected had been managed better and if proper maintenance had been done with the collection system and facilities, the city could have been treating most of its storm water by now.

         – Contributed by Paul Snoey

 

About Paul Snoey

I have a degree in Biology and Environmental Science from WSU Vancouver
I am very fond of Gee Creek and Allen Canyon Creek and do a lot of volunteer work to restore these creeks.

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