Biggest Little City

Glossary of Terms

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Best Management Practices (BMPs): Any program, process, design criteria, operating method, measure or structural device which controls, prevents, removes, or reduces pollution. It includes good housekeeping solutions such as the proper handling, storage, and disposal of toxic materials to prevent pollution.

Catch Basins: Curbside openings that collect rainwater and runoff from homes and business, which serve as entry points into the storm drain system.

First flush: The first portion of a significant rain storm (approximately ½ inch) after an extended dry period (several days), which flushes accumulated pollutants into the storm drain system and carries them straight to the Truckee River.

Flood control channel: The open portion (often concrete-lined) of the storm drain system. A local example would be Dry Creek east of Virginia St.

Gutter: The edge of a street (below the curb) designed to drain water runoff from streets, driveways, parking lots, etc. into catch basins.

Household hazardous waste: Common everyday products that people use in and around their homes including paint, paint thinner, herbicides, and pesticides that, due to their chemical nature, can be hazardous if not properly disposed.

Illegal discharge: Any disposal into the storm drain system for which a person or business does not have a permit.

Illicit connection: Any connection to the storm drain system that is not permitted: or any legitimate connection that is used for illegal discharge.

Non-point source pollution: Pollution that does not come from a single, identifiable source. Includes materials that wash from roofs, streets, yards, driveways, sidewalks and other land areas. Collectively, this is the largest source of pollution.

Outfall: A discharge point from one drainage system into a larger system. A local example would be a storm drain pipe discharging into the Truckee River.

Point source pollution: Pollution from a single identifiable source such as a factory or a sewage-treatment plant. Most of this pollution is highly regulated at the state and local levels.

Source control: Action to prevent pollution where it originates.

Storm drain system: A vast network of underground pipes and open channels designed for flood control, which discharges straight to a receiving water body such as the Truckee River.

Stormwater: Rainwater and runoff that enters the storm drain system and empties into lakes, rivers, and streams.

Stormwater pollution: Runoff water from rain, irrigation, garden hoses or other water related activities that pick up pollutants (cigarette butts, trash, automotive fluids, used oil, paint, fertilizers and pesticides, lawn and garden clippings and pet waste) from streets, parking lots, driveways and yards and carries them through the storm drain system and straight to the Truckee River.

Watershed: An area of land that drains water or runoff to a point of interest. For example, the watershed for Dry Creek a the point where the creek crosses Virginia St. would be the canyon area in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the surrounding neighborhoods and the natural terrain that slope towards and drains into the creek above that point.

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