What is Stormwater?

What is Stormwater?

Rainwater, snow, sleet, or hail that runs off streets, houses, lawns, and other sites. Since it is not able to be absorbed into the ground, it goes into storm drains and drainage ditches. Once the stormwater goes into the drains and ditches it travels through the stormwater pipes until it reaches a body of water such as a stream, lake, creek, river or ocean.

Why is protecting stormwater important? 

Stormwater is untreated and goes directly into our lakes, rivers, streams, creeks, or oceans. Wildlife uses these bodies of water to live in and for food and water.  They can become sick from the pollution that travels with the stormwater.

Impacts of common Stormwater Pollutants:

•     Oil, grease, metals and coolants from vehicles
•     Fertilizers and pesticides from gardens and homes
•     Yard debris (grass clippings, leaves, etc)
•     Pet wastes
•     Trash: such as drink cans, food wrappers, etc
•     Soil from construction sites and other bare ground
•     Soaps from car or equipment washing

How does this pollution affect the environment?

Oil, grease, coolants, soaps, and pesticides are toxic to not only wildlife but also to our drinking water supply. Pet waste has large amounts of bacteria that can make the water unsafe for recreational activities such as fishing or swimming. Soil can make it difficult for plants to receive sunlight, clogs fish gills, smother fish eggs and carry nutrients that can cause algae blooms.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 40% of all U.S. waters are not fishable or swimmable

There are over 191,000 miles of rivers and streams in the State of Texas
  • (Over 10,000 miles have been declared as impaired (poor water quality)
There are over 900,000 acres of lakes, reservoirs and ponds in the State of Texas
  • (Over 561,000 acres have been declared as impaired (poor water quality)