"The City with Heart in the Heart of it All"

Water Pollution Control F.A.Q.

What is storm sewer?

Storm sewers collect rain water and melting snow that runs off impermeable roofs, streets, parking lots, and lawns. The storm water runoff can transport toxic pollutants untreated, to a local stream, river, or lake. These pollutants can adversely affect or kill aquatic life degrade the beauty of our natural resources and impair Mahoning County's waterways to the point that they must be closed for recreation. Storm water awareness can help keep our local waterways and your drinking water clean.   


What is stormwater runoff?

Stormwater runoff occurs when precipitation from rain or snow melt flows over the ground. Impervious surfaces like driveways, sidewalks, and streets prevent stormwater from naturally soaking into the ground.

Why is stormwater runoff a problem?  

Stormwater can pickup debris, chemicals, dirt, and other pollutants and flow into a storm sewer system or directly to a lake, stream, river, wetland, or coastal water. Anything that enters a storm sewer system is discharged untreated into the water bodies we use for swimming, fishing, and providing drinking water.


What are the effects of stormwater pollution? 

Polluted stormwater runoff can have many adverse effects on plants, fish, animals and people.

  • Sediment can cloud the water and make it difficult or impossible for aquatic plants to grow. Sediment also can destroy aquatic habitats.
  • Excess nutrients can cause algae blooms. When algae die, they sink to the bottom and decompose in a process that removes oxygen from the water. Fish and other aquatic organisms can't exist in water with low dissolved oxygen levels.
  • Bacteria and other pathogens can wash into swimming areas and create health hazards, often making beach closures necessary.
  • Debris- plastic bags, six-pack rings, bottles and cigarette butts-washed into water bodies can choke, suffocate, or disable aquatic life like ducks, fish, turtles and birds.
  • Household hazardous wastes like insecticides, pesticides, paint, solvents, used motor oil and other auto fluids can poison aquatic life. Land animals and people can become sick or die from eating diseased fish and shellfish or ingesting polluted water.
  • Polluted stormwater often affects drinking water sources. This, in turn, can affect human health increase drinking water treatment costs.

What Pollutants are of concern? 

  • NUTRIENTS - (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, fertilizers) - Excess nutrients create algae blooms in waterways. This reduces the amount of available oxygen in the water for the aquatic life and gives drinking water a bad odor and taste.
  • PATHOGENS - (bacteria, viruses, etc.) - Pet waste and failing septic tanks pollute storm water with harmful levels of bacteria that cause a variety of health problems.
  • PETROLEUM HYDROCARBONS - Oil and grease that drips or spills onto the land surface washes into the storm drain. One quart of oil can pollute up to 250,000 gallons of water.
  • TOXIC POLLUTANTS - Household products such as paint, antifreeze, and pesticides are considered hazardous wastes. These products can be harmful to wildlife and the environment when not disposed of properly.
  • LITTER - Trash is transported by the runoff from urban areas to ditches and contribute to flooding.

What can we do to help with Pollutants?

  • JOIN THE STORM WATER QUALITY MANAGEMENT EFFORT: Get involved by educating your neighborhood and become a storm drain marking volunteer.
  • EROSION CONTROL: Rocks, trees, plants, and seeding can help reduce erosion-causing sediment pollution.
  • OUTDOOR CLEANING: Wash outdoor items with biodegradable soap and wash them in the yard. Grass helps to filter out the soaps before they reach the storm drain.
  • TRASH & RECYCLING: Properly dispose of trash and any hazardous household chemicals. Please try to reuse and recycle where possible.
  • CHECK FOR OIL LEAKS: Place a drip pan under any leaking vehicle until they can be repaired. Clean up spills with absorbent materials like kitty litter and dispose in the trash.
  • Household Chemicals:
    1.  Take unwanted household chemicals to hazardous waste collection centers; do not pour them down the drain. This can disrupt your septic system.
    2.  Never pour unwanted chemicals on the ground; this will contaminate runoff and ground water.
    3. Use low phosphate or phosphate-free detergents.
    4. Use only enough of the product to get the job done.
  • Landscaping and Gardening
    1. When landscaping your yard, select plants that have low requirements for water, fertilizers and pesticides.
    2. Preserve existing trees and plant trees and shrubs to help prevent erosion.
    3. Try to decrease impervious surfaces by installing wood decks, bricks or stones instead of cement walkways. Impervious surfaces speed up flowing water in drainage ditches, causing severe stream bank erosion in the receiving waters.
    4. Compost your yard trimmings; compost is a valuable soil conditioner which gradually releases nutrients to your lawn and garden.
    5. Spread mulch on bare ground to help prevent erosion and runoff.
  • Septic Systems
    1. Inspect and pump your systems regularly.
    2. Do not divert storm drains or basement pumps into your septic systems.
    3. Do not use toilets as trashcans! Excess solids can slog the drain field.

  • Water Conservation
    1. Repair leaking faucets, toilets and pumps which waste hundreds of gallons of water a week.
    2. Use dishwashers and washing machines only when fully loaded.
    3. Take short showers instead of baths.
    4. Turn off water when you are not using it. Don't let it run while brushing your teeth.

City of Struthers Water Pollution Control

This iron industry, The forerunner of America's great steel industry, probably contributed more than any one thing to the winning of freedom for the original thirteen colonies. As migration westward and the settlement of our frontiers moved ever forward, these iron works furnished the tools, plows, wagon iron, pots, kettles etc., which were so necessary to the conquering of towering forests and limitless virgin lands.

As the industry moved on, these iron works of our pioneer fathers, were built in forest glades where the Indians still lurked. In 1803 the first of these furnaces was built on Yellow Creek adjacent to John Struthers' 400 acres. This was the first blast furnace west of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Events during the period of the construction of this furnace prove that the Indian problem was a serious one to these early settlers. The settlements in the Mahoning Valley actually faced many of the horrors, of frontier life. Most of these horrors could be traced to trouble with hostile Indians, who still roamed the forests along the Mahoning River. In fact on Sunday, July 20, 1800, two Indians were killed near Youngstown in an altercation with white settlers. As late as 1804 an Indian was tried at Youngstown for killing a white settler at Salt Springs.

As civilization pushed ever westward living conditions in the new settlement on Yellow Creek became less hazardous. The struggle for existence however, became less rigorous only with the coming of conveniences made possible by the growth of the iron industry and the development of transportation facilities.

The little furnace on Yellow Creek was constructed by Daniel Eaton. Its capacity was but a few tons a week and the entire output was used in the casting of pots, kettles and sad irons for the new settlers. No casting of products was done on Sundays and the iron on these days was formed into small pigs, which were then transported to the Pittsburgh bloomeries where it was converted into bar-iron.

About 1806 John Struthers also saw the possibilities in the iron business and about this time he associated himself with Robert Montgomery and David Clendennin in the erection of a second furnace about a mile and 2 half down Yellow Creek from Baton's furnace. Later on this partnership purchased the Eaton stack.

The small Struthers operations prospered until 1812. The war of 1812-14, called away the available workmen and left the furnaces idle. The Eaton-Struthers furnaces never operated again and John Struthers emerged from the havoc of these war years with his industry and his lands gone.

The little settlement on Yellow Creek remained almost dormant for more than sixty years. The Ohio Canal gave impetus to the growth of Lowellville and Youngstown but it remained for the building of a railroad to bring Struthers to life.

In 1865, Thomas Struthers, son of John Struthers, who had located in Warren, Pa., bought back the old Struthers homestead, or much of if, and laid out the village, to which he gave his family's name. Two rail-roads were built through the site of the little village, a post office was established in 1866 and in 1867 industry was revived through the erection of a saw mill.

In 1869 Struthers again became an iron producing community with the construction of the Anna Furnace by the Struthers. Iron Company. In 1880 there was added the sheet mill plant of the Summer's Brothers Co., and in 1888 the plant of the J. A. and D. P. Cooper Gear Company.

With all these activities Struthers still remained a village of less than 1,000 inhabitants, after 100 years had elapsed since John.Struthers built his first cabin and erected the sawmill and grist mill on Yellow Creek. In 1899 Struthers was brought into closer communication with Youngstown and the upper Mahoning Valley by the completion of an interurban electric line.

In 1902 the neighboring village of East Youngstown (now Campbell) was started. This new community was started shortly after the incorporation of The Youngstown Iron Sheet and Tube Company (known as The Youngstown Sheet and Tube Co., since 1905).

The erection of this plant, near the 100-year-old settlement gave Struthers a growth impetus which demanded civic action. Throughout the years the village was an unincorporated part of Poland Township, but the need of a better government became apparent and in November 1902, Struthers became a formally incorporated municipality, with an historical background of which it could well be proud.

The first village election was held on Dec. 6, 1902, with the first village officers as follows: Thomas Roberts, mayor, Andrew E. Black, clerk, Seth J. McNabb, treasurer, George Demmil, marshal, George Zumpky, William Maurice, Harry Swager, W. A. Morrison, Clark McCombs and John H. Shatter as councilmen.