Stormwater flows across the streets, driveways and rooftops from rain and snow melt and ends up in Arvada's streams, lakes, ditches and canals. When it rains or snows, debris, sediment, bacteria and nutrients on sidewalks, streets and parking lots wash into gutters, through storm drains, and eventually flow, untreated, into the creeks.
Other sources of water include over-irrigation, car wash water, or any other activity that results in water flowing into the gutters. Fertilizers, paint, oil, and other materials that can be harmful to the environment may end up in Arvada's lakes and streams after a storm.
Ralston Creek, Van Bibber Creek, Leyden Creek, Little Dry Creek and the many small ponds and lakes within the City's boundaries may be potentially affected. There are also three major canals that flow through Arvada. Learn more about lake maintenance.
Arvada's Stormwater Permit
The City was issued a Permit from the State of Colorado that requires programs to be developed to protect area waterways. This Permit is called the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Permit and includes programs such as public education, responding to spills, controlling construction pollutants, and keeping City facilities and activities protective of waterways.
Programs required under the State-issued Stormwater Permit are described in the City's Stormwater Management Plan, which recently changed its name to the Program Description Document (PDD). The PDD is publicly available for review and comment. Please contact the Stormwater Division to request the document.
These structures channel, divert, and capture stormwater flows to control flooding of downstream properties and improve the water quality of our stormwater runoff before it gets to creeks and rivers. Examples of stormwater facilities are swales or ditches, detention ponds, and outlet structures.
Control flooding and improve water quality
Before the neighborhood, business or commercial site was built, clean stormwater most likely soaked into permeable grassy areas or fields. When rooftops, driveways, streets and parking areas were built, most of the stormwater no longer soaks into the ground, but flows at a rapid rate across paved (impervious) surface, picking up materials such as trash, metals, oil, soil and chemicals along the way before it discharges into creeks and rivers. Swales, depressions, and ponds are used as stormwater facilities because they slow the water down to reduce the potential for downstream flooding, and settle out contaminants so that mostly clean water flows from the development.
Stormwater facility maintenance
In general, HOAs and/or management companies are responsible for maintaining stormwater facilities through legal documents created at the time the development was constructed. Many HOAs and/or management companies are not aware of their responsibility nor do they understand the financial burden associated with it. When the developer conveys the open tracts to HOAs or to a business or commercial entity, the developer is no longer responsible for maintaining those areas, even though stormwater facilities still need to be maintained.
City stormwater facility maintenance
The City maintains the curb, gutters, streets, inlets, manholes, and underground pipes that convey stormwater and any swales, detention areas, outlet structures and ponds that it owns. It is important to inventory what stormwater structures that you own and are responsible for maintaining. The City can help you do that. The City also inspects both municipal and private stormwater facilities and will communicate to you what maintenance needs to be done. Learn more about City owned lake maintenance.