What is Stormwater Runoff?

Stormwater runoff

is the polluted water that joins lakes, streams, rivers and oceans by flowing across impervious land surfaces. These impervious surfaces include roofs, driveways, parking lots and roads. Stormwater runoff has a strong impact on the environment. This pollutes the water bodies by collecting dirt, chemicals, debris and other pollutants along the way of its flow. This may even contaminate our drinking water supplies. Read on to know more about this serious cause of pollution, stormwater runoff.

Stormwater Runoff a�� What’s the Problem?

The land left in its natural state allows the majority of the rainfall to slowly flow underground. This rainwater is filtered by natural means and eventually joins the water bodies like streams, lakes and underground aquifers.

This natural process of rainwater soaking into the earth is disrupted when the land is used for constructing parking lots, roads and buildings. The existing forests and meadows are replaced with asphalt and concrete; all this does not allow the rainwater to penetrate the ground. Instead, the rainfall rapidly runs directly into streams, ditches and drains, all without being filtered. Hence, this runoff causes pollution.

To add to this existing problem, the stormwater which is directly entering into the streams often collect various pollutants along the way. These pollutants may include gasoline and motor oils that leak from vehicles or pesticides and fertilizers from gardens and lawns. Pollution caused by this means is known as non-point pollution. This causes a huge problem. This form of pollution accounts for over half of the pollutants contaminating our streams and creeks. The adverse effects due to non-point pollution include diminishing fish populations and closure of beaches for shellfish harvesting.

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