EXTENSION: Navigate stormwater challenges this summer

May 17—Stormwater management is a significant environmental challenge, especially in regions with extensive urban development like Kentucky. In response, Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s) have been implemented in over 100 communities in 34 counties to manage and treat stormwater runoff before it reaches natural water bodies.

The University of Kentucky Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment offers comprehensive educational materials to improve stormwater management within MS4-regulated communities. These resources are organized by both topic and season, ensuring they are relevant and easily accessible year-round. Just some of the many topics covered include:

— Lawn Care and Pollution Prevention: Instructions on proper lawn care to prevent nutrient runoff and advice on managing lawn debris and litter.

— Water Conservation Techniques: Strategies for conserving water at home, including using rain barrels and rain gardens, which also help reduce stormwater runoff.

— Native Plants and Biodiversity: Guidance on using native plants to enhance biodiversity and improve the absorption of rainwater.

— DIY Rain Barrel Projects: Instructional videos and factsheets, such as "Building a Rain Barrel from a Pickle Barrel," teach residents how to construct their own rain barrels, reducing runoff and promoting water reuse.

— Rain Garden Design and Maintenance: Publications like "Residential Rain Garden: Design, Construction, and Maintenance" provide step-by-step guides on creating effective rain gardens, which are essential for absorbing rainwater and reducing runoff.

For those seeking more hands-on involvement, the university facilitates workshops offering additional information and assistance on setting up rain barrels and gardens. These workshops provide practical skills and empower participants to take active roles in their community's stormwater management efforts.

Beyond educational outreach, UK is researching and developing advanced stormwater management technologies. For instance, studies on permeable pavements and low-impact development techniques are part of the university's efforts to discover more efficient ways to manage stormwater in urban settings.

To access these materials, visit https://water.ca.uky.edu/MS4.

For more information on MS4s, contact your Laurel County Extension office.