The City of Barberton is required to implement a public education program that distributes educational materials to the community about the impacts of stormwater discharges on water bodies and the steps the public can take to reduce pollutants in stormwater runoff.  Summit Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) assists Barberton with our education program.  The city hands out information in the city building, continually updates the website, has displays at local festivals, supports stormwater billboards, does presentations to schools and so much more to education everyone on the importance of stormwater!


Continue reading to find out more about stormwater and what you can do to increase not only our water quality, but how you can impact the world’s water quality!


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A timeline of human water use:

  • 12,000 yrs. ago: hunter-gatherers continually return to fertile river valleys 
  • 7,000 yrs. ago: water shortages spur humans to invent irrigation 
  • 1,100 yrs ago: collapse of Mayan civilization due to drought 
  • Mid 1800's: fecal contamination of surface water causes severe health problems (typhoid, cholera) in some major North American cities, notably Chicago
  • 1858: "Year of the Great Stink" in London, due to sewage and wastes in Thames 
  • Late 1800s-early 1900: Dams became popular as a water management tool 
  • 1900s: The green revolution strengthens human dependency on irrigation for agriculture 
  • World War II: water quality impacted by industrial and agricultural chemicals 
  • 1972: Clean Water Act passed; humans recognize need to protect water

"Human Appropriation of the World's Fresh Water Supply." Human Appropriation of the World's Fresh Water Supply. University of Michigan, 4 Jan. 2006. Web. 2 Dec. 2013.


What is the difference between a stormwater sewer and a sanitary sewer?


A stormwater sewer is NOT treated; it goes directly to water body, pollutants and all.  A sanitary sewer goes to the waste water treatment plant where the water goes through a complicated process where it is cleaned and released back into the water.


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Stormwater sewers go directly to local water bodies without being treated. Sanitary sewers go to a wastewater treatment plant to be treated before discharging into a local water body.


Stormwater Sewers Sanitary Sewers
Foundation drains Toilet
Roof drains Washer
Catch basins Dishwasher
Floor drains

What is storm water runoff?

Storm water runoff is untreated water that is created from rain or melted snow that does not seep into the ground. Instead, water flows across the land into the nearest body of water. As the water flows it picks up animal waste, oil, fertilizers, pesticides and other pollutants compromising water quality. In the City of Barberton, most storm water discharges into Wolf Creek, Hudson Run, Tuscarawas River, Mud Run, Pancake Creek, Columbia Lake and Lake Anna.

What kind of pollution is there?

 Non-point source pollution: This pollution comes from many different sources.  Excess fertilizers, herbicides, oil, grease, chemicals, sediment, bacteria from pet waste and failing septic systems are a few sources.  Non-point source pollution is the remaining leading cause of water quality problems. 


Point source pollution:  This pollution is any single identifiable source of pollution.  Factories and sewage treatment plants are to examples of places that may produce point source pollution.


Watersheds come in all different shapes and sizes. All water in the watershed goes to the same place. For example, you may have seen a sign on highway 21 saying “Ohio Divide” this means all the water falling North of the watershed sign will end up in Lake Erie, and all the water falling South of the sign will end up in the Ohio River. Watersheds not only cross through a state, but they go through the entire U.S. In other words, there are watersheds in watersheds! All the water that runs off in Barberton eventually ends up in the Gulf Coast of Mexico. Wolf Creek and Hudson Run flow into the Tuscarawas River, the Tuscarawas River joins the Walhonding in Coshocton. The Walhonding flows into the Ohio River, the Ohio River into the Mississippi River and that discharges into the Gulf of Mexico. Ths means everything we do here to our water effects the water all the way to the ocean!

Everyone Lives In A Watershed! Do You Know Your Watershed Address?


How much runoff does my house produce?


The average house is 2000 square feet and the average rain fall in Barberton yearly is 39 inches. This mean an average roof will produce 48,425 gallons of runoff every year!

There are approximately 12,000 houses in Barberton. If we collected all the runoff in a year from all those houses, we would have about 581,100,000 gallons of water! That is enough water to supply Barberton for 145 days!




Why should I keep my yard clippings out of the street?


Grass clippings can cover inlets and block water from flowing into them.  The grass that does make it into the storm sewers decomposes and depletes dissolved oxygen that aquatic life needs to survive.  The grass also encourages algae growth.



Medical Disposal


Sewer treatment plants are not designed to remove medicine.  Any medicine disposed of through the toilet or drain will end up in out lakes and rivers.  Unwanted medicine should be kept it in its original packaging, but all personal information should be blacked out before disposal.  Secure the medicine in a zip lock bag and deposit it at the drop box at the Barberton police station lobby.  Only pills, capsules and syrup can be disposed of at the drop box. 

For syringe disposal please call 330-926-5600.



Rain Barrels


Rain Barrels are a great way to reduce the amount of runoff from your roof!

Rain barrels are a rainwater collection system that connects to your downspouts to store rain water. The stored water is FREE soft water that can be used to wash cars, top off swimming pools, water gardens or lawns, window washing, etc.

Rain barrels are typically 55 gallons (but come in a variety of sizes.) They can be bought at local gardening or retail stores, or made at home.

How to Make a Rain Barrel - Clemson University Video

Rain Barrels - City of Portland




Plants and Fertilizers


Consider using native plants in yards, they require less pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers.  They provide food and habitat for native wildlife, decrease the amount of water needed, are low maintenance, and help control erosion. 


Native Ohio Plants:



Button Bush

Spice Bush



Purple Coneflower

Cardinal Flower

Black-eyed Susan

Wild Geranium

Blue Lobelia

Garden Phlox

Butterfly Weed

Turtle Head

Fairy Candles

Obedient Plant


Gray, Silky and Red Osier



Invasive Plants:

Autumn Olive

Bush Honeysuckle


Common Reed Grass

Garlic Mustard

Japanese Honeysuckle

Japanese Knotweed

Multiflora Rose

Purple Loosestrife

Reed Canary Grass


Caroline Knorr
Stormwater Manager

(330) 861-7298