Due to the widespread presence of hard surfaces such as roads, buildings, and parking lots, urban areas contribute a considerable amount of stormwater runoff into our local waterways.Stormwater is a term used to describe water that originates during precipitation events that does not soak into the ground, becomes surface runoff and either flows directly into watercourses or is channelled to storm sewers, settling ponds, and/or treatment facilities.

Potential Impacts

While new residential, commercial, and industrial land uses are required to include adequate stormwater management systems, existing urban areas continue to discharge stormwater directly into watercourses. In addition, municipalities are increasingly burdened with aging and leaking sewer infrastructure. As a result, toxic chemicals, sediments, petroleum, metals, pesticides, bacteria, nutrients and other pollutants in stormwater are affecting water quality and aquatic species survival.

What can I do?

  • Make sure that you dispose of chemicals or other harmful materials at an appropriate facility – don’t put them in the storm sewers on your street!
  • Learn about ways to conserve and treat stormwater on your property, such as installing a rain barrel or planting native plants.


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Waterkeeper Alliance