Stormwater is rain and snow melt that runs off surfaces such as rooftops, paved streets, highways, and parking lots preventing stormwater from naturally soaking into the ground replenishing underground aquifers. As water runs off these surfaces, it can pick up pollution such as: oil, fertilizers, pesticides, soil, trash, and animal waste. The storm sewer is a separate system from the sanitary sewer. Unlike the sanitary sewer system, the storm system is not connected to a treatment plant, so whatever washes down the storm drain goes untreated into our creeks and eventually Lake Ontario. Many people don’t realize they live in a watershed. Every drop of precipitation that falls in Monroe County will eventually end up in a nearby water body.
Effects of Pollution
Sediment picked up by runoff can impact aquatic habitats. Bacteria can enter swimming areas, create health hazards, and lead to beach closures. Debris washed into water bodies can harm aquatic life such as ducks, fish, turtles, and birds.
Household hazardous wastes such as insecticides, pesticides, paint solvents, and auto fluids can also impact aquatic life. Animals and people can then become sick from eating contaminated fish or ingesting impacted water. Stormwater runoff can also impact drinking water sources. This can raise the cost of water treatment, and can affect human health.