Stormwater runoff is generated from rain and snowmelt that flows over land and impervious surfaces such as streets, parking lots, and rooftops. Stormwater can infiltrate into soil, discharge directly into streams, water bodies, drain inlets, or evaporate back into the atmosphere. Runoff can be hazardous to our streams, rivers, and lakes. Storm drains do not go through a sanitary sewer system, so all the pollutants that stormwater runoff picks up, ends up being discharged into the waterways.
Poorly managed stormwater runoff can cause:
- Pollution Runoff- cities or towns can build up pollutants such as trash, chemicals, oils, dirt, and animal waste.
- Health Hazards- toxic pollutants that are being carried in stormwater runoff
- Flooding- large volumes of water reach the streams all at once instead of naturally through a period of time
- Erosion- Sediment/silt can block flows in storm drains
Polluted runoff from a storm drain in Princeton
What You Can Do
- Use only a necessary amount of fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides and consider natural alternatives
- Pick up your pet’s waste
- Do not leave loose trash and litter outside
- Plant native trees and plants which help filter stormwater and increase evaporation and transpiration
- Vegetate or mulch bare soil
- Dispose of grass clippings and leaves
- Invest in buying or making a rain barrel