The EPA has declared that stormwater is among the top threats to America's waterways.
Stormwater is not treated — when and wherever water from a storm can't sink into the ground, it flows off streets, parking lots, rooftops, driveways, sidewalks and gutters, down the storm drains. The longer is stays above ground, the more contaminated water becomes.
In the Salt Lake Valley, we live in the Jordan River Watershed. Largely because of polluted stormwater, ALL segments (yes, ALL—that's 100%) of the Jordan River have been deemed impaired, or no longer able to support their beneficial uses, such as wading, swimming, fishing, or recreating, etc.
Jack Wilbur from the Stormwater Coalitionjoined us with simple things we all can do to help prevent stormwater pollution.
- Bag and throw PET WASTE into the trash. Pet waste has 23 MILLION coloform bacteria, such as E.coli, per gram!
- Pick up and throw away TRASH and recycle PLASTICS--or even better, buy things that come in no, or minimal, or reusable packaging
- If you must use HOUSEHOLD CHEMICALS, use them sparingly, and if you need to dispose of them, take them to the nearest Household Hazardous Waste Disposal Center. It's free for Salt Lake County residents. Drop off locations can be found at slco.org
- Fix automobile leaks and recycle OIL—that's all oil, including cooking FATS, OILS, and GREASE! One quart of oil poured down a storm drain can contaminate one million gallons of water. Water that goes down storm drains does not go to treatment plants. One pint of oil can produce a slick on approximately one acre of water.
- Mulch or compost grass clippings and yard debris. We may think that organic waste is just natural material that can go into the gutter and down the storm drain without making a problem, but when it gets to our waterbodies, it causes too many nutrients in the water, such as nitrogen and phosphorous, and algae grows and dies, making harmful algal blooms and killing fish and other aquatic life. This is especially true in the summer months, when the conditions for algae growing in our waterways and waterbodies are at their peak.
For more information please visit: stormwatercoalition.org.