What is all the fuss about? What can you do? Storm water runoff occurs when precipitation from rain or snowmelt flows over the ground. Storm water can pick up debris, chemicals, dirt and other pollutants and flow into a storm sewer system or directly into a lake, stream, river, wetland, or coastal water. Anything that enters a storm sewer system is discharged untreated into the water bodies we use for swimming, fishing, and drinking water. Impervious surfaces like driveways, sidewalks, and streets prevent storm water from naturally soaking into the ground. The more impervious surface in an area, the more stormwater runs off rather than infiltrates to recharge groundwater. Not only does stormwater runoff cause flooding downstream, it leads to pollutants being picked up from the surface and being deposited in our rivers and streams. We can make a difference by limiting the amount of impervious surfaces at our place of work, and in our backyards. We can capture stormwater and store it for later use. We can also eliminate potential pollutants so that the water that does make it to the storm drain, creek, or ditch is cleaner and healthier for human contact and for wildlife.
Look at the impact of impervious surfaces on our landscape: