stormwater runoff flows either:
directly into streams, rivers, ponds, lakes and
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 runoff
- Oil, grease, and
toxic chemicals from motor vehicles
- Pesticides and
nutrients from lawns and gardens
bacteria, and nutrients from pet waste and
failing septic systems
- Heavy metals
from roof shingles, motor vehicles, and other
- Road salts
These pollutants can harm
fish and wildlife populations, kill native vegetation,
foul drinking water supplies, and make recreational
areas unsafe and unpleasant.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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).
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.