Urban stormwater runoff pollution is a problem that has no boundaries, however, neither does the solution.
WHY IS STORMWATER A PROBLEM?
Recently, DEP labeled approximately 19,000 miles of rivers and streams in Pennsylvania impaired for water supply, aquatic life, recreation, or fish consumption. Stormwater runoff pollution is one of the biggest reasons for this impairment.
Over the past years, streets, parking lots, sidewalks, and roofs have been a steadily increasing part of communities as the landscape has become more developed. As a result, rain that would otherwise soak into the ground instead rushes over these nonporous surfaces and into storm drains, which send it directly into rivers and streams.
Stormwater carries an enormous amount of pollution, including sediment, car oil, lawn fertilizers, and pesticides. As you might expect, this has many negative impacts on streams and rivers.
THREE WAYS YOU CAN BE STORMWATER SMART
Here are actions you can take to reduce stormwater runoff pollution at your residence and in your community.
- SET UP A RAIN BARREL AT YOUR RESIDENCE
You can capture rainwater off your roof with a rain barrel, and then use the water in your garden or let it infiltrate slowly into the ground. There are various options, from very simple to more involved.
- THINK ABOUT LAWN CARE A LITTLE DIFFERENTLY
Don’t overwater your lawn. Consider using a soaker hose instead of a sprinkler. Use pesticides and fertilizers sparingly. Use organic mulch or safer pest control methods whenever possible. Compost or mulch yard waste. Don’t leave it in the street or sweep it into storm drains.
- GET INVOLVED
Volunteer, professional organizations, and businesses throughout Pennsylvania are taking action to reduce stormwater pollution. They offer classes on how to set up rain gardens and rain barrels at home. They hold events to plant rain gardens in city neighborhoods or vegetation on streambanks or to pick up trash. They work to find funding solutions for municipalities’ stormwater efforts. And the list goes on.
Below are just a few examples of organizations in Pennsylvania to reach out to. There are so many there’s surely one near you. If not, start one!
- Conservation Districts
- Nature centers
- Pennsylvania Resource Council–offers classes on rain barrels around the state.
- Penn State Extension
- Watershed associations
Urban Stormwater runoff pollution can be greatly reduced through the efforts of community members. Take the required steps to become informed. For questions, answers, and solutions to stormwater management of all capacities, please contact D.L. Howell & Associates, Inc. at (610) 918-9002 or visit our website at www.dlhowell.com.