What is Stormwater Runoff?
Stormwater runoff is generated when precipitation from rain and snow melt events flows over land or impervious surfaces and does not percolate into the ground. As the runoff flows over the land or impervious surfaces (paved streets, parking lots, and building rooftops), it accumulates debris, chemicals, sediment or other pollutants that could adversely affect water quality if the runoff is discharged untreated.
The primary method to control stormwater discharges is the use of best management practices (BMPs).
The Effects of Stormwater Pollution
Polluted stormwater runoff can have many adverse effects on plants, fish, animals, and people.
- Bacteria and other pathogens can wash into swimming areas and create health hazards, often making beach closures necessary.
- Debris - plastic bags, six-pack rings, bottles, and cigarette butts - washed into waterbodies can choke, suffocate, or disable aquatic life like ducks, fish, turtles, and birds.
- Excess nutrients can cause algae blooms. When algae die, they sink to the bottom and decompose in a process that removes oxygen from the water. Fish and other aquatic organisms can’t exist in water with low dissolved oxygen levels.
- Household hazardous wastes like insecticides, pesticides, paint, solvents, used motor oil, and other auto fluids can poison aquatic life. Land animals and people can become sick or die from eating diseased fish and shellfish or ingesting polluted water.
- Polluted stormwater often affects drinking water sources. This, in turn, can affect human health and increase drinking water treatment costs.
- Sediment can cloud the water and make it difficult or impossible for aquatic plants to grow. Sediment also can destroy aquatic habitats.
Stormwater Questions or Concerns
For information regarding stormwater questions or concerns please contact the Engineering Department's stormwater hotline at 205-739-6888 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 10 Things You Can Do to Help Reduce Stormwater Runoff Pollution
- Alabama Department of Environmental Management
- Center for Watershed Protection
- City of Hoover Cooking Oil Recycling Program
- Environmental Protection Agency - Polluted Runoff
- Suggested Stormwater Practices - Commercial
- Suggested Stormwater Practices - Construction Sites
- Suggested Stormwater Practices - Residential