Storm Water

Storm water is NOT clean water! As rain strikes the ground and travels over land, pollutants are captured in runoff. These pollutants include: sediment, bacteria, nutrients, and metals. Much of this runoff and contaminants ultimately enter a storm drain. All waters entering storm drains in the Morganton and Lenoir areas are directly piped into ditches and streams that lead to the Catawba River.

Storm Water is NOT clean water. Storm Water runoff harms streams and lakes.

  • Transports sediment, nutrients, and chemicals to waterways.
  • Destroys habitat for fish and other aquatic life.
  • Damages stream banks and channels.
  • Raises water temperatures which can harm fish like trout.

Most Burke and Caldwell County residents receive their drinking water from the Catawba River. Runoff that enters the Catawba represents a threat to the area's drinking water as well as other river uses, including recreation and fish and wildlife habitat.

Sediment carried by the Catawba River must be removed at water treatment plants before processed water can be delivered to homes for use. Large amounts of nutrients in lakes cause algal blooms that can produce drinking water that tastes and smells unpleasant.

Follow these simple steps to keep pollutants out of storm water and protect the Catawba River.

Protect stream banks and shoreline areas near lakes. Do not remove natural plants and trees near the water. Keep new development back from the water's edge. Do not apply fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides near surface waters.

Prevent soil loss by establishing ground cover. Seed or sod bare areas to reestablish grass. Limit or restrict logging, land clearing, grading, and similar activities near streams and lakes. When clearing or grading land, use appropriate methods such as silt fences to limit soil erosion.

Follow label directions when using lawn care products. Apply fertilizers and lime at recommended rates based on soil test results. Match chemicals to targeted pests. Do not apply when heavy rain is likely. Stay away from ditches, streams, and lake margins. Sweep up materials deposited on sidewalks and streets. Store unused chemicals in a dry environment. Dispose of empty bags and canisters as recommended on the label.

Only rain goes down the storm drains. These drains empty directly in ditches and streams without receiving any treatment. Manmade materials like motor oil, paint, and chemicals, as well as natural materials like leaves and grass clippings should be kept out of storm drains.

To report a violation, Jack Cline 828-485-4222 or email

Call if you see: Overflowing manholes, Breaks in sewer lines, Failing septic tanks, Unusual coloration and/or odors in stream waters, Dead or dying fish, or; Soil erosion leaving construction sites.

For more information, visit:


Illicit Discharges and Connections

Valdese Stormwater Ordinance

Valdese SWMP

Grading Permit

Related Pages
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