Stormwater is the liquid precipitation that is the result of a rain event. Once the storm water reaches the ground a portion of stormwater will evaporate back into the atmosphere, a portion will soak into the soil and regenerate groundwater, and the rest of the water will flow along the ground becoming stormwater runoff.
Is storm water runoff bad for the environment? In a pristine untouched area, storm water runoff would have virtually no negative impacts on the surrounding environment. In the world we live in today, storm water runoff has become a transporter of pollution and can have lasting negative effects on the environment. As cities grow and more areas are covered with impervious surfaces less rainwater is absorbed into the ground and more storm water runoff is generated. This runoff carries contaminates to our storm drains and directly into lakes and streams.
Local Stormwater Pollution
Unlike the water that goes down your sink or bathtub drains to the sewer collection systems, water that flows into storm drains is not treated and filtered for pollutants. This contaminated water flows directly into drainage ditches and lakes that feed into Oyster Creek and the Brazos River. From there the pollutants flow south into the Gulf of Mexico.
So letting pollutants reach your storm drains is like contaminating your own food source. Anything other than pure rainwater is a potential contaminant that degrades water quality and aquatic life. It's very important that you help prevent contaminants from flowing into storm drains and never pour anything into them. Intentionally pouring pollutants into street gutters and storm drains is dangerous to the environment and is also illegal.
Types of Pollution
Storm water pollution can be split into three general classifications:
- Litter - cigarette butts, cans, food wrappers, plastic bags, or paper
- Natural Pollution - leaves, yard clippings, or animal feces
- Chemical Pollution - fertilizers, oil, or detergents