Tracy Warner, Municipal Engineer firstname.lastname@example.org 515-239-5163
Nathan Willey, Civil Engineer email@example.com 515-239-5436
Jake Moore, Stormwater Specialist firstname.lastname@example.org 515-239-5287
Report stormwater violations: Stormwater Violations/Illicit Discharge
Download the Ames-on-the-Go app and report an issue.
City of Ames Public Works Department, 515-239-5160 (8:00 AM-5:00 PM)
City of Ames Water and Pollution Control, 515-239-5150 (after hours)
Watch this video about Stormwater Pollution Prevention
What is Stormwater? Stormwater is water generated after a precipitation event, and can be from either rainfall or snowmelt. Some water infiltrates into the soil surface, some is taken up by plants, and some is evaporated into the atmosphere. The remainder and majority of the water runs off land surfaces, especially from impervious surfaces such as paved streets, parking lots, driveways, sidewalks, roof tops, and significantly compacted lawns. As this water flows overland it collects and transports sediment, nutrients from fertilizers, bacteria from pet waste, litter, and other pollutants. It drains into the City’s underground storm sewer system and directly into local streams and ponds and lakes.
Why is it Important to Manage Stormwater? (Managing Stormwater in Iowa Communities) As urbanization occurs, less precipitation infiltrates into the ground and the volume of stormwater and speed at which it runs off the land surfaces increases. This impacts our local streams and results in more frequent flooding, accumulation of debris within the stream corridor, soil erosion, and stream bank instability. To reduce these impacts proper stormwater management is implemented with Best Management Practices, or BMPs to comprehensively manage small and large rainfall events.
When properly designed and maintained, these practices reduce the potential for downstream flooding, reduce pollutants, such as oil and grease, chemicals, nutrients, sediment, metals, and bacteria, collected in stormwater, and increase water infiltration into the soil similar to conditions before development. These practices can help improve water quality of our local streams and ponds and our larger rivers. Protecting Iowa's Water Quality
What kind of BMP’s can be used to manage Stormwater? To manage more frequent small storm events rain gardens, soil quality restoration, bioretention cells and bioswales can be used as part of a treatment train with detention and retention basins that manage larger less frequent flood-generation events.
Ames has a Regulated Stormwater Program with a stormwater permit from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to discharge stormwater to the water of the State. It is called a Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit and it requires that specific measures be addressed. The following measures must be addressed to be in compliance with the permit: Illicit Discharge, Construction Site Erosion Control, Post Construction Stormwater Management, Public Education and Outreach, Public Participation and Pollution Prevention/Good Housekeeping. The Public Works Department oversees the permit requirements and receives assistance from other City Departments including the Parks and Recreation Department and the Public Relations Department. Residents, businesses and the City work together to carry out these measures. A cost sharing program in the form of rebates and an Ordinance with Stormwater Fees covers the costs of the required program.