After the Deluge: Stormwater Pollution

BakerDamFlowingWater-T.PalmerWhile recent rains were much needed after the dry summer of 2015, the deluge of water that we received generated all sorts of issues.  Flooded roadways and parking lots made for chaotic commuting, and many homeowners had to deal with wet basements and other concerns.

Another repercussion of a large rainstorm, one which doesn’t grab the big headlines, is the amount of contaminants that get washed into our waterways, something that is referred to as “polluted stormwater runoff”.  Evidence of these contaminants can be found in water sampling data from our CWMN (Citizen’s Water Monitoring Network) Program.

Dog waste (bacteria), litter, chemicals, fertilizers, oil and grass clippings are just some of the pollutants that wash down stormdrains during a rain event.  This dirty water then flows—untreated—into our local waterways, where it impacts the health of the water that we rely on for drinking and recreation.

stormdrain litterThe next time that you’re walking around your neighborhood, take a look around and look for those stormdrains.  Then look at all of the pollution nearby – papers, cigarette butts, oil slicks, dog poop.  That’s the stuff that will be washing into our waterways the next time that it rains.  Gross, right?

So what can you do to help keep our local waterways healthy?  The simplest solution is to keep the pavement clean and redirect water away from storm drains.  You can also support your local Department of Public Works, who are being guided by EPA regulations to address stormwater issues and help keep our water free from pollution.

Click here for more information on stormwater runoff, including tips for preventing it!



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