There is an old adage that "it all ends up in the water," which is the simplest way to explain stormwater effects. Our streets have drains to prevent flooding, and anything that goes down these drains will eventually end up in a natural body of water without treatment. Not only that, but every time it rains everything will be washed down these drains as well. That includes motor oil from cars, paint from street markings, pet waste and any hazardous chemicals that aren't properly disposed of. Just 1 gallon of improperly disposed oil can contaminate 1 million gallons of water.

Water From Rain & Melting Snow

  • Flows from roofs, sidewalks, parking lots and other hard surfaces
  • Collects:
    • Fertilizers
    • Grease
    • Litter
    • Oil
    • Pesticides
    • Pet waste
    • Salt
    • Soil
  • Drains directly to nearby creeks, streams and rivers without being treated
  • Major pollutants of stormwater are eroding soil, excessive nutrients, toxic chemicals and excessive nutrients, toxic chemicals and excess stormwater flow

Preventing Pollution

  • Let grass clippings lie and mulch fall leaves or use them to start a compost pile
  • Fertilize in the fall and test your soil before fertilizing
  • Choose selective pest control methods
  • Collect litter and animal waster before it washes into storm drains
  • Recycle used oil at service stations; do not dump it into the storm drain
  • Maintain septic tanks in good working order
  • Watch for high erosion areas around your home or work

Reducing Stormwater Conserves Tap Water

  • Direct downspouts into grassed areas
  • Use porous surfaces for sidewalks and driveways
  • Collect rain water in rain barrels and use for irrigation
  • Landscape yards with rain gardens, grassy swales and filter strips

Cleaner & Cheaper Water

  • Water conservation reduces treatment costs:
    • Less pumping is needed, resulting in reduced operation and maintenance costs
    • Fewer chemicals are necessary for treatment
  • Stormwater conservation has the same benefits and reduces the amount of inflow and infiltration to the sewer system