Pipes and projects help prevent pollution
by Michael Harrison
The Tampa Bay area normally receives about 45 inches of rain each summer. In most cases, the rain either infiltrates into the shallow soils in grassy and unimproved areas or flows into the storm sewer system. Flooding occurs when either the surface soils become saturated or the storm water drainage system cannot handle the runoff.
Fortunately, the 6th Civil Engineer Squadron understands the situation and is designing and implementing numerous projects that will improve drainage and prevent impact to our mission. As MacDill continues to grow, upgrades to the base will help prevent any unnecessary pollution from entering the water in Tampa Bay.
The 6th CES and various independent contractors are upgrading facilities, constructing new buildings and adding more roads and paved parking. These improvements replace grassy and unimproved areas that allow stormwater to infiltrate and the amount of storm water runoff increases.
For example, the Hangar Loop Drive improvement project will increase the capacity of the underground stormwater drainage pipes and drainage canals which discharge to Tampa Bay to minimize flooding within a significant part of our industrial area.
MacDill has an important responsibility associated with upgrading facilities, adding new pavement and improving the storm water drainage system. This responsibility has to do with the quality of our storm water runoff and preventing pollution in the bay. Like most of the United States and the communities surrounding MacDill, our storm water runoff is not treated. As rain water flows over impervious areas such as parking, roads and storage/work areas, it can pick up dirt, trash, oil, heavy metals and other chemicals. These pollutants mix with the storm water and eventually are discharged into Tampa Bay. This harmful pollution kills the plants, fish and other animals that rely on the bay. It also spoils the aesthetic beauty and recreational benefits of our namesake community.
Every one of us can make a difference and prevent storm water pollution by keeping the areas where we live and work clean and free of pollutants. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
It's up to each of us to be a good neighbor to Tampa Bay and practice habits that will safeguard the quality of our runoff to prevent pollution. Remember, only rain should go down the storm drain.