What Is Stormwater Pollution?
Stormwater pollution is urban water runoff that has picked up pollutants as it flows through the stormdrain system—a network of channels, gutters and pipes that collects runoff. Whenever it rains or snows, water flows from city streets, neighborhoods, farms, construction sites and parking lots into the stormdrain system. Eventually, the water empties directly into local waterways.
Unlike the sewage system, which goes to treatment plants, urban runoff flows untreated, so anything that is thrown, swept or poured into the streets or gutters can be carried directly into our local channels, rivers and lakes. This includes pollutants such as litter, pet waste, cigarette butts, motor oil, anti-freeze, pesticides, fertilizers, used paint and other toxic household chemicals.
How It Affects You
So, why be concerned about stormwater pollution? Pollutants in stormwater runoff can have several serious implications. They can contaminate local drinking water supplies and have detrimental impacts on the local environment and wildlife. Trash and debris accumulated in catch basins create foul odors, clog the stormdrain system and can attract rats and cockroaches, which can decrease the quality of life in neighborhoods. Flooding can also occur due to blocked stormdrains during heavy rain events.
The preservation and protection of local waterways are vital to a region such as the High Desert area, which by nature has limited water resources.
But It Can Be Prevented…
Fortunately, stormwater pollution can be prevented. Often, pollution occurs with everyday behavior that you may not realize contributes to the problem. With a little consciousness and simple changes in everyday behavior, stormwater pollution can be averted. It is up to you to help achieve healthy waterways.