What is Stormwater Runoff
Stormwater runoff occurs when rain or snowmelt does not soak into the ground and instead flows over the ground and runs into waterways.
Why is Stormwater Runoff a Problem?
Stormwater runoff can pick up debris, chemicals, nutrients, dirt, bacteria, and other pollutants. The runoff can then flow into a storm sewer or directly into a lake, stream, river, wetland or other waterbody. This untreated water enters the waterbodies we use for swimming, fishing and drinking.
What are the Effects of Stormwater Pollution?
- Sediment can cloud the water making it difficult for plants to grow.
- Sediment can destroy habitats such as fish spawning areas.
- Excess nutrients can cause algae blooms. Algae blooms can cause low oxygen levels in the water when they die. They can also make drinking water taste bad.
- Excess nutrients can lead to more aquatic plants which affect boating, swimming and other water activities.
- Bacteria and other pathogens can wash into swimming areas which can lead to beach closures like at Emerson Park.
- Debris can injure aquatic animals such as ducks, fish, etc.
- Household hazardous wastes like oil, insecticides, pesticides, herbicides, and other chemicals can poison aquatic life and affect drinking water.
- Polluted stormwater can also affect drinking water sources which can affect human health and increase treatment costs.
Some Information Provided by:
"Making Your Home the Solution to Pollution" and "After the Storm: A Citizen’s Guide to Understanding Stormwate" by the United States Environmental Protection Agency
Page updated on 12/27/05