What is Stormwater?
Stormwater is rain water. Stormwater is water runoff resulting from natural precipitation and includes rain events, snowmelt, and other surface runoff and drainage. Stormwater can enter surface waters in Texas. Surface water in this state includes lakes, ponds, bays, reservoirs, streams, creeks, rivers, estuaries, canals, and other waters. Runoff, or water draining from properties, can flow into surface waters.
Where does the rain water go when it hits the ground?
If the rain water is not absorbed by the ground, the storm water flows to the storm water inlets, such as drains, that you commonly see on street curbs. After flowing through a network of pipes, the storm water is eventually discharged into our natural bodies of water.
Is stormwater the same as wastewater?
Yes and No. Yes it is a wastewater. However, it is not sanitary wastewater. Sanitary wastewater, like water flushed from your toilets and drained from sink faucets, is collected in a separate network of pipes that eventually flows into places, like wastewater treatment plants, where it can be treated and cleaned.
Is stormwater treated or untreated before it is discharged?
Typically, the stormwater is untreated. Therefore, anything on the ground such as debris, herbicides, pesticides, soaps and detergents, litter, gasoline, fertilizer, pet waste, oil, and other pollutants, get carried away with the water and winds up getting discharged in our local bodies of water.
Why should you care about polluted stormwater?
Polluted stormwater means our natural bodies of water become polluted too. Environmental impacts from storm water pollution can be devastating to aquatic plants and animals. Here are a few examples of the environmental impacts.
- Increased nutrient levels can lead to toxic algal blooms.
- Altered chemical balances can kill aquatic plants and animals.
- Toxic effects have a dangerous impact on the food chain.
- Affecting aquatic flora and fauna can reduce the diversity of aquatic life.
- Decaying litter can reduce water oxygen levels and kill aquatic animals and plants.
- Difficulty getting light and oxygen puts some plants and animals at a disadvantage and makes it hard for them to breathe.
- Reduces water quality.
What can you do about it?
Changing behaviors can help prevent pollution.
- Do you wash your car in the driveway? It is preferable to wash your vehicle on the natural ground so the water can be absorbed or at your local car wash.
- Do you change your vehicle's motor oil? Take your used motor oil to your local auto service station.
- Did you fertilize your yard? Do not over water and cause the water to run into the street.
- Need to use a herbicide or pesticide outside? Avoid using them or do not use them on windy days or days it will rain.
- Use organic products.