Storm Water Education

The Town of Jamestown is a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Phase II community. The Town is responsible for the quality of stormwater that drains from properties, flows into the storm sewer system, and discharges to area waters. The Town is required to implement a comprehensive stormwater management program that addresses the following six main elements:

  • Public Education
  • Public Participation
  • Illicit Discharge Detection & Elimination
  • Construction Site Runoff Control
  • Post-Construction Stormwater Management
  • Good Housekeeping in Municipal Operations


Good water resource management starts with good stormwater management. Managing stormwater as it comes off your roof and parking lots in a manner that protects the water quality in our lakes and streams is of vital importance to our Jamestown community.

Nonpoint source pollution violates water resources everywhere. Major nonpoint sources of pollution include excess farm & lawn nutrients that move through the soil into the groundwater or enter local waters directly through runoff during heavy rains; uncontrolled stormwater runoff from construction sites, and animal wastes.

Pollutants can include nitrogen and phosphorus from fertilizers, sediments from construction sites, pesticides from agricultural lands, and salt from winter road treatments.

There are lots of ways to reduce nonpoint source pollution. They include detention ponds for capturing sediments, buffer strips of vegetation, and seed & mulching bare areas to help control erosion by reducing pesticides and fertilizer. Pollution prevention is essential to reducing nonpoint source pollution.


Stormwater Utility Fee

Beginning in January 2024, the Town of Jamestown plans to institute a stormwater management utility fee which will be applied to all utility customers located within the Town limits. For residential properties, the fee will be $5/month and will appear as “1 ERU” or “Equivalent Residential Unit”. The ERU will be used to calculate fees for commercial and industrial customers based on the amount of impervious surfaces located on their property. The stormwater management fee will be used to help administer the Town’s Stormwater Management Program which is a requirement of our State stormwater permit. The fees collected will also be used to fund capital improvement projects to help address stormwater infrastructure improvements throughout Jamestown.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


How is a commercial fee calculated?

Fees for commercial properties are calculated by totaling the impervious surface area (in square feet) and then dividing that by 4,000 sq. ft. (1 ERU).  For example, a commercial property with 60,000 sq. ft. of impervious area / 4,000 (1 ERU) = 15 ERUs.  15 ERUs x $5 = $75/month.


Who do I contact to report pollution/spills?
To report pollution or spills, call the Town of Jamestown at 336-454-1138 during normal business hours or 336-454-1218 after hours or if it is an emergency.

Who do I contact to report blockages in drainage ways, such as culverts and bridges?
Call the Town of Jamestown at 336-454-1138 during normal business hours or 336-454-1218 after hours or if it is an emergency.

Who do I contact to report other drainage problems?
Call the Town of Jamestown at 336-454-1138 during normal business hours or 336-454-1218 after hours or if it is an emergency.

Why are cities implementing these programs?
In 1972, the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program was established under the authority of the Clean Water Act and delegated to the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality for implementation.
The NPDES permit requires that the Town of Jamestown develop regulations, ordinances, policies, and procedures to implement a Stormwater Program. Additionally, the Town is required to maintain adequate funding, management, and staffing for the Stormwater Program. The purpose of the Stormwater Management Plan is to reduce the discharge of pollutants from the municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4). 

What is stormwater runoff?
Stormwater runoff is the water that flows off roofs, driveways, parking lots, streets, and other impervious surfaces during rain storms. Rather than being absorbed into the ground, it pours into ditches, culverts, catch basins, and storm sewers. It does not receive any treatment before eventually entering the community's streams and lakes.

What problems does it cause?
Stormwater can carry harmful nonpoint source pollutants, cause flooding, erode topsoil and stream banks, and destroy aquatic habitats. In an area with natural ground cover, only 10 percent of rainwater becomes runoff. The rest is absorbed or evaporates. In urban areas, up to 55 percent of rainfall can become stormwater runoff.

Why are the stormwater and sewer systems separate?
Unlike wastewater, which is treated before it is released back into the environment, stormwater goes directly into a community's ponds, streams, and lakes. Because stormwater comes in large amounts at unpredictable times, treating it as wastewater would be very expensive.

What is nonpoint source pollution?
Nonpoint source pollution is water pollution that is difficult to trace to a specific discharge point. Because it comes from many diverse sources, it is hard to control. Examples of common nonpoint source pollutants include fertilizers, pesticides, sediments, oils, salts, trace metals, and litter. They come from farms, yards, roofs, construction sites, automobiles, and streets.

Why has Jamestown chosen to institute a separate fee for stormwater management?
There are several reasons. First, a fee based on impervious surface area is an equitable way to charge and collect revenues for this program. Secondly, the federal government required that we designate a stable and continuous source of funds to ensure compliance. By establishing a dedicated funding source through stormwater utility fees, the Town can ensure that the dollars required to manage and maintain this important system are available.

What is impervious surface area?
Impervious surface area is any surface that does not readily absorb water and impedes the natural infiltration of water into the soil. Common examples include roofs, driveways, parking areas, sidewalks, patios, decks, tennis courts, concrete or asphalt streets, crushed stone, and gravel surfaces.

How did the Town determine impervious surface area?
For single-family homes, a statistical sampling was taken of properties in Jamestown. Each was measured and an average impervious surface area was determined. For businesses and other institutions, the Town measured the impervious area using aerial survey data. 

Why is gravel impervious?
Packed gravel and earthen matter can prevent or impede the entry of water into the soil mantle as it occurs under natural conditions. Studies show that once gravel is compacted (i.e. from cars and heavy equipment), it acts like a paved surface, and surface water runs off of it.

How does Jamestown treat stormwater drainage systems on private property under this new utility?
The Town must protect the entire drainage system, publicly or privately owned, from pollution. The Town works with private property owners to advise them on practices to follow to reduce or eliminate pollution. The Town enforces ordinances against improper disposal or dumping if voluntary compliance does not occur.

What can I do to reduce pollution in stormwater runoff?
Creating natural areas on your property can help reduce the quantity of stormwater runoff. Disposing of wastes properly, using a minimum amount of chemicals in your yard, and keeping your car well-maintained can reduce the amount of pollution that you add to stormwater runoff.


Stormwater Control Measures (SCMs)

What is a SCM?

SCM stands for Stormwater Control Measure. Stormwater SCMs are designed to remove pollutants from urban runoff, improve water quality, and control quantity before the water reaches our streams and drinking water supply reservoirs.

Stormwater SCMs offer both "non-structural" and "structural" approaches to water quality protection. Non-structural SCMs may include such practices as minimizing impervious area for site development, providing vegetative buffers along all streams and waterways, promoting natural infiltration of runoff before it enters a receiving stream, pollution prevention practices such as regular sweeping of parking lots, and public environmental outreach programs.

Structural SCMs are permanent devices, which are designed, constructed, and maintained to remove pollutants from runoff. While it is important to note that structural SCMs are only one part of a comprehensive watershed management plan, they play a critical role in protecting water quality in our receiving streams and lakes by removing or filtering out pollutants in runoff. Without these constructed devices, pollutants in urban runoff would directly enter the closest stream or lake, possibly impair downstream water quality or aquatic life, and also degrade the quality of our drinking water reservoirs.

Many different kinds of SCMs can be installed, such as stormwater wetlands, bioretention cells, infiltration basins, dry detention areas or wet detention ponds.

Stormwater Wet Detention Pond
In Greensboro, the wet detention pond is the most commonly used structural SCM for stormwater quality enhancement. This stormwater SCM improves stormwater quality by detaining stormwater runoff for an extended period of time to allow pollutants that are suspended in the runoff to settle out. As runoff enters the pond, its velocity is dramatically reduced, allowing suspended pollutants to begin settling.

Many pollutant particles found in stormwater runoff are very small and, because smaller particles settle slower than larger particles, the pond is designed to provide adequate detention time so smaller particles have a chance to settle out.

The components of the wet detention pond that help increase the pond’s pollutant removal efficiency are the permanent pool, temporary pool, and forebay. The permanent pool prevents particles that have settled to the pond bottom from re-suspending when runoff flows into the pond. The temporary pool is storage above the permanent pool which is utilized to control runoff during a storm event. To increase the detention time of the runoff, the temporary pool is slowly released. A separate smaller pond, called a forebay, is placed upstream of the main pond to trap a majority of the suspended solids in the runoff before it enters the main pond. Learn how wet detention ponds are inspected.

Stormwater Wetlands
By building wetlands to treat stormwater, we can try to reproduce the superior pollutant removal capability of natural wetlands. Wetlands remove pollutants primarily through physical filtration and settling and by biological processes of wetland plants. This SCM is somewhat similar to wet detention ponds in that they both have a permanent pool and a temporary pool. Generally, stormwater wetlands have a shallower permanent pool than wet detention ponds so that wetland plant species can thrive in the basin. Runoff that is captured by the wetland area first enters a micropool or forebay, which is a relatively deep pool that promotes the initial settling of larger pollutant particles. The stormwater slowly flows through the shallow areas of the wetland where the wetland plants filter suspended pollutants and reduce nutrient pollution through uptake.

Filtration Systems
Sand filter filtration systems used for stormwater treatment work similar to those that are used in the drinking water purification process. Stormwater filtration systems consist mainly of a pretreatment, or sedimentation area, and the filter area. Runoff first enters the sedimentation area where the runoff velocity is reduced allowing larger pollutant particles to drop out. When the stormwater leaves the sedimentation area, it is spread evenly over the filter bed, where it flows down through the filter media. As the stormwater flows through the filter, the filtration media trap and absorb pollutants present in the stormwater.

A variety of different filtration media can be used, such as sand, peat, and compost. Filtration systems are beneficial when land space is scarce or expensive because they can be designed to be placed underground or border the perimeter of a parking lot or other impervious surface.

Bioretention Systems (Rain Gardens)
The bioretention system is a relatively new concept that mimics forest ecosystems to enhance stormwater quality. A bioretention system consists of a depression in the ground filled with soil media mixture, mulch, and plantings and is designed to appear as a landscaped area, giving this SCM a very natural and appealing image. The manner in which runoff flows through the bioretention system is very similar, on a smaller scale, to watering potted plants.

Stormwater runoff enters the bioretention area and is temporarily stored in a shallow pond on top of the mulch layer. The ponded water then slowly filters downward through the soil media mixture and is absorbed through the plantings. As the excess water filters through the system, it is collected by an under-drain pipe and discharged to a storm conveyance system.

Dry Extended Detention Basin
Underground detention facilities are structural SCMs designed to provide temporary storage of stormwater runoff for quantity control purposes. The systems are typically installed beneath parking lots, streets, and parks to maximize property usage and lower development costs. Underground detention system design measures must be taken to trap and store sediments in locations where clean-out and maintenance can be easily performed. Dry extended detention ponds are designed for the water to exit the pond through the principal and emergency spillway.

Download the State of NC Division of Environmental Quality SCM Design Manual here.

Download the Waiver of Liability and Drain Marker Program. (.pdf)

Download the Waiver of Liability Form (.pdf)

SCM Inspections

Stormwater SCM inspections include a thorough evaluation of the primary features of SCMs in place. Particular attention is placed on the following areas:

Dam and Emergency Spillway
The dam and emergency spillway are very important in protecting lives and property downstream in the event of a catastrophic failure. Too much woody vegetation or too many mature shrubs and trees can degrade the integrity of a dam if its root structure gets into the dam foundation. Burrowing animals, such as muskrats and mice, can cause even more degradation. Dams must be inspected for any cracks, seepage, or excessive erosion that may cause a failure of the pond. The emergency spillway should be maintained from any excessive woody vegetation or significant erosion as well.

Inlets and Outlets
The inlets and outlets to and from the pond may become clogged with sediment, trash or debris. Structural failure of the inlet or outlet may occur as a result of blockages or improper installation. Blockages should be removed and pipes should be repaired or replaced as needed. The riser pipe and orifice holes should be visually inspected from shore to ensure they are not blocked and that the pond appears to be draining properly.

Erosion can be of minimal importance or it can be the most significant problem associated with the pond. Minor erosion should be noted and can be corrected by revegetating. Major erosion on the dam or spillway, or where it impairs the sediment storage capacity of the pond, should be corrected by regrading and vegetating or dredging. Erosion of side slopes may occur if the slopes are too steep and/or if there is limited vegetation to stabilize the slopes. On slopes with less than a 3:1 ratio, revegetation of the side slopes is recommended to prevent erosion. On steep slopes, regrading the slope to less than a 3:1 ratio and then revegetating that slope should prevent erosion.

Sediment Storage Capacity
One of the major functions of the wet detention pond is to trap pollutants, including sediment. Periodic sediment removal is required to ensure that stormwater runoff is treated. A visual inspection of the pond forebay should reveal any excessive sedimentation problem. If a pond requires sediment removal, sediment capacity calculations should be used to determine the extent of removal necessary to restore the pond to designed conditions.

Water Quality
Water quality problems in ponds may result from needed maintenance, upstream influences, or urban runoff. Algae or sedimentation is the most likely problem, but on occasion, stagnation or fish kills may result for no apparent reason. Other problems, such as oil, trash, and bacterial growth, will occur as well. Commonly, algae will grow when sedimentation has begun to fill in the pond and the nutrients do not have enough room to settle out and be treated. Dredging to remove the sediment usually resolves this issue. General appearance and overall function should be visually inspected to ensure proper function.

Inspection Report
Upon the completion of a pond inspection, an inspection report will be generated in a letter format with any recommendations or requirements necessary to improve water quality or return the SCM to design specifications. This inspection report is mailed directly to the owner with a completion date (generally 90 days) for all recommended/required items.

No Recommendations -- If no problems were noted and no recommendations or requirements are to be made, a letter will be sent to the owner stating that the SCM was inspected, was in good condition, and that no recommendations or requirements will be made at this time.

Recommendations -- If recommendations have been made, a letter will be sent to the owner with specific actions needed to restore the pond and a date to complete the maintenance items.

Required Items -- Items that would be required by the owner include items that directly relate to the safety and primary design function of the SCM. If the required items are complex, expensive, or need a substantial amount of time to complete, a written corrective action plan should be submitted with estimated time frames for completion.

If an owner does not complete the recommended or required items during the allotted timeframe, the Town may elect to begin enforcement actions per applicable guidelines in the Ordinance.


Backyard Buffer Program

If you live near a lake or stream, Riparian Buffers are important to reduce erosion and protect the stream bank. Call Town Hall, if you have questions. 336.454.1138. 

STORMWATER HOTLINE:  Report Illicit Discharges and Spills!

Please report any stormwater concerns to Paul Blanchard, Public Services Director, at 336.454.1138 or email - After-hours report any stormwater concerns to the Town of Jamestown after-hours emergency phone number at: 336-454-1218, call 911, or the State of North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality at: 1.877.623.6748.

Practice Good Housekeeping

  • Put loose leaves at the edge of your yard, not in the street.
  • Don't fertilize your yard or garden just before it rains.
  • Wash your car in your yard not in the driveway or go to a commercial car wash.
  • Oil & Water don't mix. Please recycle all used motor oil. One quart of motor oil can contaminate 250,000 gallons of water.
  • Take unwanted paint, oil, old batteries, and other harmful household products to ECOFLO, Inc. located at 2750 Patterson Avenue, Greensboro, 336.855.7925. This is a free service to citizens of Guilford County.
  • Stream buffers also known as riparian buffers are important for good water quality. Stream buffers help prevent sediment, nitrogen, phosphorus, pesticides, and other pollutants from reaching a stream.

When walking your pet, please pick up the waste and dispose of it properly by throwing in the trash or flushing it down the toilet. This pet waste contains e.coli and other bacteria that are washed into the storm drain and creeks when it rains. The average pet produces a quarter pound of waste a day! Think about it!

Simple steps may not seem like much, but if the whole community gets involved, we can change the Big Picture of our water quality.

To learn more, go to:

Carolina Yards and Neighborhoods

CY&N is a program designed to teach people how to be more environmentally friendly with their land care maintenance practices. To learn more visit

Download the Power Point Presentation of CY&N