What is Storm Water Pollution?
Unlike pollution from sewage treatment plants, storm water pollution comes from many different sources on the land. Storm water runoff from rain can dissolve, pick up and transport many types of common household and yard chemicals and other materials that cause pollution.
Automotive waste, lawn waste and chemicals, pet waste, paints and eroded soil are all pollutants found in our local streams, rivers and Lake Erie.
Polluted storm water threatens public health by contaminating drinking water supplies and recreational areas. It also damages or destroys fish, wildlife and aquatic life habitats and decreases the aesthetic and economic value of these resources.
What is the problem with storm water runoff?
In open fields, forests and wetlands, rain is absorbed by the soil or taken up by plants and trees.
In developed areas, however, rain or snow that falls on roofs, parking lots, streets and lawns is not absorbed. Instead, it rapidly runs off the land, scouring streams, or carrying pollutants through the storm sewers, directly to local streams and into Lake Erie.
How can we improve our water resources?
Protect your storm drains. Never allow any chemicals, paint, yard waste, pet waste, or litter to be washed down or put into storm drains; these drains flow directly to our local creeks and rivers.
Recycle used motor oil and antifreeze. One quart of oil can contaminate up to two million gallons of drinking water! Call 1-800-CLEANUP for the nearest collection center, or contact the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District at (216) 443-3749 or opens in a new windowwww.cuyahogaswd.org
Reduce or eliminate fertilizers for your lawn. When using fertilizers, be sure to sweep excess fertilizer from driveways, sidewalks and streets. Have your soil tested to determine exactly what nutrients are needed. Contact Ohio State University (OSU) Extension at (216) 397-6000 for information.
Grass clippings, leaves and yard debris are organic, but they definitely should not be dumped near or into a stream. Make use of your yard waste by composting it into a rich organic matter. Composting protects the environment and saves you money.