What is Stormwater?
Stormwater is water from rain or melting snow that doesn’t soak into the ground but runs off into waterways. It flows from rooftops, over paved areas and bare soil, and through sloped lawns while picking up a variety of materials on its way. The quality of runoff is affected by a variety of factors and depends on the season, local meteorology, geography and upon activities which lie in the path of the flow.
Whats the Problem?
As it flows, stormwater runoff collects and transports pollutants to surface waters.
Although the amount of pollutants from a single residential, commercial, industrial or construction site may seem unimportant, the combined concentrations of contaminants threaten our lakes, rivers, wetlands and other water bodies. Pollution conveyed by stormwater degrades the quality of drinking water, damages fisheries and habitat of plants and animals that depend on clean water for survival. Pollutants carried by stormwater can also affect recreational uses of water bodies by making them unsafe for wading, swimming, boating and fishing. According to an inventory conducted by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), half of the impaired waterways are affected by urban/suburban and construction sources of stormwater runoff.
What can be Done?
Proper storage of chemicals, cleaning of spills and grass clippings, good housekeeping, and just plain paying attention to what’s happening during runoff events can lead to relatively inexpensive ways of preventing pollutants from getting into the runoff in the first place and then our waterways.
This Information Has Been Provided by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation