Water from rain and melting snow that flows over lawns, parking lots and streets is known as stormwater runoff. This water, which travels along gutters, into catch basins and through storm drain pipes and ditches, usually is not treated, but then flows or is discharged into local water bodies. Along the way, the stormwater picks up trash (fast-food wrappers, cigarette butts, styrofoam cups, etc.) and toxins and other pollutants (gas, motor oil, antifreeze, fertilizers, pesticides and pet droppings). This polluted stormwater can kill fish and other wildlife, destroy wildlife habitat, contaminate drinking water sources and force the closing of beaches because of health threats to swimmers.
Human activity is largely responsible for the stormwater pollution. Everything that we put on the ground or into the storm drain can end up in our water. Each of us has a responsibility to make sure these contaminants stay out of our water. Whether we have clean water is up to you.
For information on Stormwater Management resources and programs available from the
New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, visit: Clean Water New Jersey.