Storm water runoff is rain that falls on streets, parking areas, sports fields, gravel lots, rooftops or other developed land and flows directly into nearby lakes, rivers and Puget Sound, rather than dissolving into the ground. Runoff picks up toxins and pollutants including detergents, food processing waste such as fats and grease, industrial solvents, vegetative debris, insecticides and herbicides, and chemicals from hygiene and personal care products.
So why is stormwater pollution a problem? Stormwater pollution contaminates our water supplies and harms fish and local wildlife. Since the run off is unable to soak into the ground, and flows or floods downstream. As a result, floods can damage homes and businesses, flood septic system drain fields and overwhelm streams, wetlands and wildlife habitat. It wasn’t until 1990, in response to the Clean Water Act of 1987, that the federal government began requiring effective stormwater controls on development.
There are several things you can do to help lessen your impact on storm water pollution, through proper stormwater management. First, installing a rain barrel or a storm drainage system in your home is a proactive way to reduce stormwater runoff and stormwater pollution. Catch basins and curb inlets often provide the first opportunity to trap pollutants from storm water. Rain barrels utilize a catch basin insert or stormwater filter to treat the water from pollutants. Rain water can then be dumped directly into drainage or sewage systems.
Storm drain filters are also efficient and cost effective alternative oil water separators. Contributing even slightly to reducing the level of contaminants in rain water is a step toward bettering our environment, and cleaner water for both us, and our wildlife.