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What is Storm Water?

Rain to Rivers - Wise Choices for Cleaner Waters


Water pollution has many sources. Up to half of all pollutants come not from factories or wastewater treatment plants, but from many diffuse sources resulting from our own everyday activities. For example, dog waste left on the ground or chemicals sprayed on your lawn can get washed into the nearest waterways by the next rain. Pet waste and pesticides in your yard may not seem like they could have a large effect on local streams and lakes, but our waterways receive storm water from thousands of backyards. What we do in our own yards and our own communities can make all the difference to the quality of our lakes and streams.

What is Storm Water Runoff?


Water that does not soak into the ground or evaporate is called storm water runoff. Storm water runoff flows over the ground surface and then into storm drains and ditches that empty directly into our local waterways. Storm water runoff volumes are greater in cities, villages, and other developed areas because water can't soak through the pavement, rooftops, and concrete.

What goes in here...
What is Storm Water Pollution?


Storm water runoff conveys more than just water to streams, rivers, and lakes. Rain and snowmelt carry dirt, grease, trash and more from roads, parking lots and other hard surfaces into storm drains and ditches, and these empty directly into our waterways. Storm water also carries excess nutrients, like phosphorus, which turns our lakes and streams green and smelly and harms fish. The way to protect and clean our waterways is to make sure only rain—and nothing else—goes into the storm drains and ditches.

What is a Watershed?


A watershed is an area of land than drains to a particular waterway, be it a lake, stream or river. Your neighborhood, school and workplace are all part of watershed; the roads we drive on and the parks we play in are also part of a watershed.

Flows out here...
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