Most stormwater runoff flows
directly into streams,
rivers, ponds, lakes and wetlands
down the nearest
stormdrain into the nearest waterway without any treatment
is Stormwater Runoff a Problem?
Stormwater washes pollutants
off roads, lawns and other surfaces and carries them into the
nearest body of water. Some of the pollutants commonly carried by
- Oil, grease, and toxic chemicals from
- Pesticides and nutrients from lawns and
- Viruses, bacteria, and nutrients from
pet waste and failing septic systems
- Heavy metals from roof shingles, motor
vehicles, and other sources
- Road salts
These pollutants can harm fish and wildlife
populations, kill native vegetation, foul drinking water supplies,
and make recreational areas unsafe and unpleasant.
Increased flow resulting
from excess runoff causes extensive damage to streams, scouring
the stream bottom and causing severe erosion to stream banks. The
risk of flooding downstream also increases.
Easy Steps Homeowners Can Take to Help Manage Runoff
You can collect rainwater from rooftops in
mosquito-proof containers. The water can be used later on in lawn
or garden areas.
Specially designed areas planted with native
plants can provide natural places for rainwater to collect and
soak into the ground. Rain from rooftop areas or paved areas can
be diverted into these areas rather than into storm drains.
Vegetated Filter Strips
Filter strips are areas of native grass or plants created along
roadways or streams. They trap the pollutants stormwater picks up
as it flows across driveways and streets.
Homeowners Reduce Pollution in Runoff?
Donít overwater your lawn. Consider using a
soaker hose instead of a sprinkler. Excess fertilizers and
pesticides applied to lawns and gardens wash off and pollute
streams. Use pesticides and fertilizers sparingly. Have your soil
tested to determine how much fertilizer you need. When use is
necessary, use these chemicals in the recommended amounts. Use
organic mulch or safer pest control methods whenever possible.
Compost or mulch yard waste.
Use a commercial car wash that treats or
recycles its wastewater, or wash your car on the grass in your
yard so the water infiltrates into the ground. Repair leaks and
dispose of used auto fluids and batteries at designated drop-off
or recycling locations.
Pet waste can be a major source of bacteria and
excess nutrients in local waters. When walking your pet, remember
to pick up the waste and dispose of it properly (double bag it and
dispose with garbage).
Leaking and poorly maintained septic systems
release nutrients and pathogens (bacteria and viruses) that can be
picked up by stormwater and discharged into nearby waterbodies.
Inspect your system every 3 years and pump your tank as necessary
(every 3 to 5 years). Don't dispose of household hazardous waste
in sinks or toilets.