Stormwater runoff is known as the water from rain and melting snow that flows over lawns, parking lots and streets. This water, which travels along gutters, into catch basins/inlets and through storm drain pipes and ditches, is typically not treated. Ultimately it either flows naturally or is discharged into local waterbodies.
How does it get polluted?
As stormwater travels across the ground it picks up trash such as plastic bottles, cigarette butts and other items we consider trash as well as other pollutants such as gas, motor oil, antifreeze that may leak from our vehicles, fertilizers and pesticides that we apply to our yards and pet droppings that do not get picked up. This polluted stormwater eventually reaches our lakes, ponds, streams and other waterways and can result in dead fish and wildlife, it can destroy wildlife habitat and it can contaminate the drinking water sources we rely on. It can also result in the forced closure of public swimming areas because of health threats to swimmers.
Interested in how you can help break this stormwater pollution cycle? The State of NJ has a couple of web resources you can visit to learn more.