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What is stormwater runoff?
Stormwater is any water that originates from rainfall excess or snow melt and “runs off” the land instead of being absorbed into the ground. This stormwater flows into our streams, rivers, and lakes, and inevitably ends up in our oceans.
What is polluted stormwater?
When stormwater “runs off” the land into nearby bodies of water, it picks up a large amount of pollutant substances along the way. These substances include but are not limited to: pesticides, fertilizers, oil, soap, pet waste, and trash.
What are the different types of pollution?
There are two kinds of pollution sources: point source and non point source. A point source is any pollution that comes from a single measurable point, such as smoke stack. Non point source pollution is any pollution that cannot be traced to the source, such as automobile emissions. Stormwater is inherently a non point source for pollution.
Why should we manage stormwater?
Stormwater is one of the greatest contributors to poor surface water quality, and it significantly harms wildlife living in the water. It is for this reason that stormwater should be treated to reduce pollution before being released into surface waters. Additionally, stormwater management addresses flood mitigation. When heavy rain falls on roads, roofs, and parking lots, these hard surfaces do not adequately absorb the water. As such, developed areas with large amounts of impervious surfaces lose their ability to handle large rain events, thus producing flooding conditions in urban areas. Stormwater management addresses this problem by providing temporary storage of this excess water and then releasing it slowly to the receiving body of water.
How do we manage stormwater?
Currently, there are several methods for managing the effects of stormwater runoff. Because it is much easier to prevent stormwater pollution than it is to treat and clean polluted water, education and governmental regulations aim at deterring activities that contribute to the problem. Once the stormwater becomes polluted, the most widely used method for treating it is through stormwater detention ponds. Additionally, green roofs, storm drain grates, and permeable paving aim to reduce the volume of polluted stormwater that reaches our precious bodies of water.
How can I reduce my contribution to stormwater pollution?
You should raise your individual awareness about daily activities that can contribute to the stormwater runoff problem. If you have a car, maintain it so that oil and other fluids do not leak from it. When you wash your car, either wash it on the grass or at a car wash facility. If you own a yard, make sure you don’t use excessive amounts of pesticides or fertilizer, and never fertilize your lawn just before it rains heavily. Never place anything down a storm drain, and remember not to litter. Finally, please dispose of your pets’ waste in the proper trash receptacle.
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