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Stormwater Runoff

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What is stormwater runoff? 
Stormwater runoff is generated when precipitation from rain and flooding events flows over land or impervious surfaces and does not percolate into the ground. As the runoff flows over the land or impervious surfaces (paved streets, parking lots, and building rooftops), it accumulates debris, chemicals, sediment or other pollutants that could adversely affect water quality if the runoff is discharged untreated.

When stormwater is absorbed into the ground, it is filtered and ultimately replenishes aquifers or flows into streams and rivers. In developed areas, however, impervious surfaces such as pavement and roofs prevent precipitation from naturally soaking into the ground. Instead, the water runs rapidly into drainage ditches, stormwater sewer systems, stormwater ponds or directly into water bodies.

What contaminates the water?
When rain enters the storm drains, it picks up whatever is on the surface and carries it directly to the stormwater ponds for treatment or directly into the adjacent water bodies, untreated.  A significant part of the water quality problems in the US results from untreated stormwater runoff.  It is imperative to implement best management practices to better manage and treat stormwater runoff to protect the quality of waters in which we fish, swim and play.  Below are a few pollutants that get flushed into the water bodies:

  • Antifreeze

  • Car Waxes

  • Cigarette butts

  • Degreasers

  • Detergents

  • Fertilizers

  • Motor Oil

  • Grass clippings

  • Leaves

  • Pesticides

  • Pet waste