This story originally appeared on CurrentCast and is republished here with permission.
Trees love rain. Gardens love rain. Basically the planet loves good rain. But what happens in a city where much of that rainwater is not absorbed and filtered naturally into the land—and instead runs right off it?
This: It washes over those hard urban surfaces, like streets and rooftops, picking up pollutants all along its not-so-merry way.
Rachel Herbert of the EPA’s Office of Wastewater Management explains the problem further.
“As the stormwater flows over these areas, it picks up things like trash and chemicals, sand and grit, bacteria, other pollutants, and then it flows into our local rivers, streams, lakes, and oceans—often without treatment to remove these sorts of pollutants.”
She advises that no matter how far you live from the water, you can help by always remembering to:
- Avoid littering
- Check your car for leaks
- Pick up pet waste
- Properly dispose of paint, chemicals, and used motor oil
This will help protect both local and distant water resources which is something we all can appreciate.
- Read about the EPA’s efforts to regulate stormwater discharges
- Check out these Stormwater Pollution FAQ, from LA’s Department of Public Works
- Take action and reduce stormwater runoff in your yard with EPA tips
The fine print:
- This segment was produced in partnership with Cornell’s Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future