As stormwater flows over the land, it can pick up pollutants. Common pollutants in urban systems include:
Bacteria – from pet and wildlife waste, and failing septic systems
Phosphorus – from tree leaves, grass clippings, soil erosion, fertilizer, and pet and wildlife waste
Sediment – from exposed soil on construction sites, sparse lawns, and unprotected garden beds set close to hard surfaces like streets, sidewalks, and driveways
Chloride – from road salt
Unlike the water that goes into a drain inside your home, stormwater does not get routed to a treatment plant to get cleaned. Instead, stormwater is routed directly to local lakes, ponds, wetlands, and creeks. Learn more about the city’s pollution prevention efforts and how you can do your part.
Stormwater can also cause flooding and drainage issues when the stormwater management network is overwhelmed. Sometimes parks and streets are used to temporarily store water during and after a storm in order to protect downstream structures and waterbodies. If you’re unsure whether standing water is planned or if there is a problem, contact the Engineering Department.