It isn’t something that comes to mind immediately, but keeping debris off our roads and out of ditches and culverts has a profound impact on the amount of pollutants entering the Chesapeake Bay watershed. SHA’s preventative maintenance programs, such as sweeping, grass swales and stormwater management ponds, are strategically planned to minimize the accumulation of debris throughout the year and are designed to support Maryland’s commitment to the Chesapeake Bay Protection and Restoration Executive Order
and to the Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL) established under Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act
. (TMDL is a calculation of the maximum amount of a pollutant that a body of water can receive daily and still safely meet water quality standards.)
Routine ditch and culvert cleaning (and maintenance) assures proper water flow, protects structures and lessens the likelihood of flooding. In many cases, special care is taken to prevent erosion and sediment damage, as well as protect aquatic life in streams and rivers.
Roadway debris (things like dirt, small rocks, and greasy residues) can interfere with the drainage of storm water, allowing unnecessary pollutants to enter Maryland waters. In addition, debris can become airborne – a potential safety threat for motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists. SHA sweeps sections of roadway along curbs to minimize debris.
Sweeper Truck: Frederick County 2012