Protecting the Waterways From Storm Water Runoff

April 12, 2013 — 1,480 views  
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Groundwater runoff is well known to be a source of pollution from construction sites.  However, during rainy times, neighborhood and street flooding can be a significant source of chemical pollution into the drain water as well.  This type of pollution is called Nonpoint Source pollution, or NPS.  Chemicals such as pesticides, fertilizers, oil and gasoline can be carried in flooding waters into the drains.

The best way to minimize the effect of these chemicals entering the waterways is by public education and awareness.  Communities are under obligation by the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Water Act to educate their residents to the best ways to prevent or minimize chemical contamination of water runoff.

There are several ways to prevent or minimize the chemical sources of pollutions.  These include:

  • Keep your use of lawn fertilizer to a minimum and do not over use.
  • When using pesticides, treat the area needed only; do not use more than you need.
  • Herbicides should be used judiciously, especially on driveways and sidewalks.
  • Wash cars in the grass, rather than on the street or driveway.
  • Clean up spilled oil, antifreeze, or gasoline rather than hosing it into the street.
  • Keep the gutters free of materials that have been treated with these

An additional contaminant of water runoff is the problem of sediment or soil runoff as well.  Sediment can contain many of the harmful chemicals listed above, as well as salt, pet waste, leaves, garbage and other debris.  There are steps that can be taken to keep these solid materials out of the gutters and streets, and away from the drainage systems in the neighborhoods.

When heavy rains fall, many neighborhood streets are prone to flooding.  When debris is already in the streets, this debris gets carried along with the water, causing problems at the drainage sites.  This creates more flooding and more problems. 

A simple solution can be taken from the construction industry.  Construction companies have long been aware of the problems that come from runoff and sediment and have many ways to address this very issue.  Widely used for several years are filters that basically filter the debris from storm water runoff.  The purchase of an inlet filter can save the waterways from a buildup of debris.  Inlet filters are eco-friendly, as they are reusable, and allow the water to run through the, leaving debris behind, much like a strainer does in the kitchen.  If every neighborhood in America used these filters, the problem of debris and water runoff would greatly be reduced.


Graduate from the Utah Valley University in the field of business. Interests are blogging, internet marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), sports, computer games, snowboarding, hiking, & camping. Also enjoys practicing writing skills by submitting articles on sites such as Article Base.