NCC Dept of Special Services - Stormwater Management (c 2010)

April 1, 2010


New Castle County Department of Special Services

Spring Stormwater Management Newsletter


In This Issue (Scroll Down)

1. Welcome

2. Maintenance Corporations

3. Stormwater Amnesty

4. Yard Waste

5. Green Technology

6. Invasive Vegetation



Welcome to the first quarterly newsletter from  New Castle County,  the purpose of which is to keep you updated on stormwater management issues in your community. We hope you find these newsletters beneficial, but if you'd rather not receive them in the future, please follow the unsubscribe link at the bottom of this email. 

The County, along with DelDOT and several other municipalities were issued a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System "NPDES" permit that requires us to implement measures towards reducing erosion, flooding, and the degradation of the water quality in our ponds, rivers, and streams in order to improve the quality of life for our residents.  In order to achieve our goals, we have implemented many programs including screening for illicit discharges to the storm sewer system, regulating construction to insure the control of pollutants, minimizing stormwater runoff from new development, inspecting stormwater ponds and best management practices ("BMP's") throughout the County, and monitoring industrial facilities. 

You can help us by properly disposing of household hazardous wastes( such as used motor oil, antifreeze and old paint); yard waste (such as grass clipping, leaf litter, and animal droppings), by properly applying pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers, and by insuring your communities stormwater management facility functions as designed by applying proper maintenance.  For more information, please see our website or give us a call at 395-5754.


Maintenance Corporations  

In 1965, the Delaware General Assembly mandated that New Castle County regulate the development and subdivision of land in the unincorporated areas of the County. With the mandate, it became the County's responsibility to protect water resources and provide adequate provisions for public utilities, drainage, parkland, and open space.

 To achieve this, New Castle County began issuing regulations regarding land development. Current code provisions require developers to set aside open space and create adequate controls for stormwater management. A maintenance corporation is created and subsequent control of the organization, as well as ownership of the open space and common (which includes stormwater management) facilities, are transferred to the homeowners. Chapter 40, Article 27 of the Unified Development Code addresses the purpose of, and requirements for, Maintenance Organiziations, Open Space, and Common Facilities.

 With lot ownership, membership into the corporation occurs automatically. In accordance with their Maintenance Declaration, the corporation has the authority to assess each homeowner, or member, his/her share of the cost for maintaining the designated areas. By properly maintaining their facilities, organizations can preserve greenery and wildlife, provide recreation areas for community members, and improve stormwater runoff quality.  For more information, on maintenance corporations, please go to the following link



 Do you live in a community with a maintenance corporation?  Has your maintenance corporation submitted your community's 2010 Annual Registration Form and your 2009 Inspection and Maintenance Logs with the New Castle County Stormwater Management Office?  Extended deadline to submit all forms is April 15, 2010.  Not sure, call Janice Catherman at (302) 395-5754 or e-mail her at

What is the Stormwater Management (SWM) Amnesty Program?   In 2005, County Executive Chris Coons initiated an assistance program for all maintenance corporations in New Castle County who have stormwater management facilities such as wet or dry ponds, bio swales, infiltration basins and bioretention areas, constructed wetlands and filter strips.  Until 2005, there was no formal inspection process of the stormwater management facilities in residential communities.  Annually, New Castle County performs over 1,400 SWM facility inspections throughout New Castle County.  The inspection reports list the minor maintenance deficiencies that need to be corrected in the SWM facility and are mailed to respective maintenance corporations.  Maintenance corporations are required by New Castle County Code to maintain their open space and SWM facilities.

By joining the SWM Amnesty Program, communities agree that they will perform routine maintenance in and around their SWM facilities and conduct an inspection after every major rain storm over 2".  In return, New Castle County will do major repairs to the SWM facilities if and when needed, upon available funding.  What is routine maintenance and major repairs?  Routine maintenance of the SWM facilities consists of grassing cutting, removing of trash and debris, minor sediment removal, repairing minor erosion and animal burrows, and unblocking a clogged outlet structure.  Major repairs consist of re-engineering and/or re-designing the facility, major sediment removal, major erosion, and major repairs to the outlet structures.

Since 2005, New Castle County has spent $ 7.6M on repairs to SWM facilities in over 70 communities.  Funding has come from the  State and County sources.

Communities must register annually their Board of Directors contact information and submit one Inspection and Maintenance Log for each stormwater management facility in their community.  These forms are due back to the County's Stormwater Management Office by January 31st of every year.  An extension has been granted this year until April 15th.  If all the required forms have not been received by the County, communities will be removed from the Program.

You may follow the link on this email or go to the County's SWM website at to obtain the Amnesty forms and for links to other SWM informational sites.

Yard Waste Disposal

Now that spring is here it's time to start thinking about lawn care.  Creating flower beds, mulching, and mowing the grass.  But what a lot of people don't think about is where they are disposing their yard waste or how harmful it can be if done improperly.

A common place to find yard waste being improperly disposed is along pond and stream embankments or slopes.  You may think this is beneficial because the piles offer erosion protection or beneficial materials to the environment by decomposing, but they do not.  In fact it's the opposite.  Piles of grass clippings will smother any vegetation underneath leaving the soil exposed and vulnerable to moving water.  Often times the piles can take years to decompose because they are not maintained properly. Furthermore, any pesticides or fertilizers that were applied to the lawn are now accumulating and adversely effecting the surrounding environment.

Also many residents don't realize that dumping any material along a waterway or stream is illegal unless authorized to do so by the State of Delaware's Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC).  It is also prohibited to dispose materials onto County property without permission from the Department of Special Services. 

The best way to dispose of your unwanted yard waste is to compost it.  This can be done by taking it to one of the States yard waste drop off sites or creating and maintaining a proper compost pile on your property.  Also, your waste disposal company is required to offer a yard waste pick up.

The State of Delaware has a website with an abundance of information to help you with all your yard waste needs.


Green Technolgy (BMPs)  

Stormwater management is the science of preventing the adverse impacts of stormwater runoff. Initially, the focus was on managing the rate of runoff from a development to prevent flooding and erosion.  Today, Scientists and Engineers around the country are designing and promoting the new stormwater management facilities which are called "Green Technologies" or Best Management Practices (BMPs). They are known for addressing water quality through more natural means. The examples of such facilities are Bioretention, Bioswale, Infiltration basins, Porous Pavement, Filter Strip and Constructed Wetland. Typically those facilities intercept runoff from rooftops, parking lots, roads and other impervoius surfaces. In this method,  stormwater is directed into vegetative areas because vegetation is known to absorb a high percentage of pollutants like Nitrogen and Phosphate from water. These facilities treat the runoff before it enters into the streams or soaks into the ground.  Although BMPs sometimes can not be used to manage water quantity (amount of water) alone,  they are very effective at improving water quality. As compared to the traditional method of stormwater management facilities like a wet or dry pond, these newer devices, mimic nature, require much less maintenance, and enhance local property values.  Most of the time they are incorporated into the landscaping areas around  urban communities or around commercial parking areas, so most people don't even recognize when they see them. Like every other structure, maintenance is crtical for these facilities to operate according to their original design. Common maintenance needs for Green Technology BMPs may include but not be limited to, maintenance of vegetation, proper grass height for bioswales,  mulch replacement, and trash and debris removal. There is likely a specific maintenance plan for your facility.  If you are having trouble locating it, please contact our office for assistance.



The need to "treat and eliminate the invasive phragmites from in and around the pond" is continually an underachieved goal on the annual Stormwater Inspection Report. Phragmites (Phragmites Australis), also known as the common reed, is an aggressive invasive perennial plant that has grown in North America for over 3,000 years.  However, in the past century it has dominated most of the mid-Atlantic area, living and thriving in Stormwater facilities in and around New Castle County, Delaware.  Phragmites spread rapidly by releasing rhizomes that create a thick impenetrable mat across the floor of the ponds destroying competing healthy vegetation.  They can also grow to a height of 15 feet, which creates a canopy blocking life-sustaining light from the foliage below. They  contribute to sediment accumulation in the ponds, in particular around the structures of the Stormwater facility, which in turn negatively affects the overall function of these ponds. If the invasive phragmites are not treated and controlled they often completely fill in and take over entire ponds and Stormwater facilities. Once the phragmites have established themselves they are very difficult to control. The best approach to treat and eliminate the phragmites is to combine an integrated pest management plan and mechanical removal.  Chemical treatments should be done in the summer months, from July through August, followed by cutting and removal of the dead phragmites. Plans involving three years of consecutive treatment have proven to be successful in controlling the invasive phragmites. Routine maintenance with spot chemical treatment and mechanical removal will be required to control future growth.  Delaware does require that a certified applicator be used when using herbicides.  New Castle County can supply a list of Certified Applicators by contacting our office. Please contact us at 395-5754 for more information.


Published via Email by:

New Castle County Stormwater Management Program

187 A Old Churchmans Road, New Castle, DE 19720



DSWA Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event

Event Date:        Saturday, April 03, 2010

Time:     8:00 AM-4:00 PM

Location:              Pine Tree Corners Transfer Station

276 Pine Tree Road

Townsend, DE

New Castle County

Posted by ballymeade on 04/01/2010
Last updated on 04/14/2015
Membership in this website is private. Request membership access.
New Castle County, Delaware 19810