Presentation on theme: "Reducing Storm Water Run-Off for Improved Water Quality."— Presentation transcript:
Reducing Storm Water Run-Off for Improved Water Quality
Stormwater runoff is rain that falls on streets, parking areas, rooftops, gravel lots, and other developed land and flows to nearby lakes, and rivers. Rainfall mixes with what’s on the ground: Oil, grease, and automotive fluids; Fertilizers, pesticides, and other chemicals from gardens and homes; Bacteria from pet wastes and failing septic systems; Soil from construction sites and other bare ground; Soaps from car or equipment washing; Accidental spills, leaky storage containers, tobacco spit and whatever else ends up on the ground.
The polluted runoff then rushes into nearby gutters and storm drains and into the rivers, lakes, and streams. In most areas, stormwater runoff enters these waters without being treated to clean pollutants.
Why Is Stormwater a Problem? In the U.S., unmanaged stormwater runoff has caused serious damage to streams, lakes and estuaries, especially where land uses change from rural to urban activities. Stormwater runoff can close swimming beaches and contaminate drinking water supplies.
Problems Poorly Managed Storm Water Causes: Pollution from stormwater contaminates our waters, closes local businesses, and harms or kills fish and other wildlife. As stormwater passes over developed land, it picks up pollutants and transports them to the nearest storm drain and eventually rivers, lakes, and streams. Flooding harms streams, and wetlands and destroys habitat needed for fish and other wildlife.
Unable to soak into the ground, stormwater quickly flows or floods downstream from developed land during the rainy season. As a result, floods can damage homes and businesses, flood septic system drain fields, and overwhelm streams, wetlands and wildlife habitat. Water shortages in growing communities may occur as a result of many impervious surfaces preventing rainfall from soaking into the ground replenishing groundwater.
What Can You Do? Stormwater does not go to the treatment plant in some communities, so stormwater runoff doesn’t get treated. Stormwater in communities with combined sewers does get treated, but it can cause problems due to heavy rainfall. It is a problem that everyone plays a role in solving. You Can Do a Lot to Help Minimize Stormwater Problems Start by doing one of the actions on the following top 10 list: 1. Maintain your vehicle. Never dump anything down a storm drain. Always recycle used oil, antifreeze & other fluids. Fix oil leaks in your vehicle.
2.Wash your car at a commercial car wash instead of in the street or your driveway. If you wash your car at home, wash it on the lawn. 3. Cut down on fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides. If you use these chemicals, follow directions and use them sparingly. Don’t fertilize before a rainstorm. Consider using organic fertilizers. Let your lawn go golden brown in the summer months; it will rebound in the fall. Compost or mulch lawn clipping. Preserve existing trees or plant new ones – trees hold rainfall and help manage stormwater.
4. Replace part of your lawn with native, drought-resistant plants. Add compost to planting soil and dress it with mulch to improve plant growth and reduce stormwater runoff. 5.Drive less. Leave your car at home at least one day each week and take a bus, carpool or bike to work. Combine errands when you drive. Get vehicle emissions checked and repaired. Buy a low emissions vehicle. 6. Pick pet waste up our of your yard and dispose of it in the trash that goes to the landfill. Pet waste should not be composted.
7. Reduce impervious surfaces at home and increase the amount of your yard that is covered by some type of vegetation. Impervious surfaces include roofs, patios, and driveways. The stormwater runoff from your roof can be redirected to vegetated areas or collected in rain barrels instead of the storm drain at the street. If installing new driveways or patios, you can use permeable paving or patterns of cement and brick that allow water to filter through.
Stormwater Runoff Facts: Gallons of stormwater runoff from a one-acre parking lot after a one inch rainfall: 27,000 Gallons of stormwater runoff from a 1,200 square foot roof after a one inch rainfall: 748 Pollutants Commonly Found in Stormwater Runoff: Runoff from farm fields, recreational areas, and residential lawns can cause nitrates to run off into streams & rivers. Fertilizers cause excessive plant growth. The water is no longer able to support aquatic life because the plants use up the oxygen. Babies consuming high levels of nitrates may have problems with their blood’s ability to carry oxygen.
Organic and inorganic chemicals - Used in industry, agriculture, or the home can be spilled, dumped, or leaked into waterways by runoff. If ingested these chemicals can build up over time and cause serious health problems. They can also negatively impact water habitat and wildlife. Pathogens – Disease causing agents found in animal and human waste. Can cause dysentery, hepatitis, parasitic infections, and food poisoning. Reducing Stormwater Runoff will benefit everyone.