What is stormwater?
Stormwater is the water from rain, snow and sleet that travels down our gutters into the storm drain.
Stormwater starts off clean. Stormwater flows directly into our rivers, lakes and streams. It is almost never treated. So everything stormwater collects from the land surface, roadways, sidewalks, parking lots, construction sites, business parks, etc., is carried to gutters, stormdrains, canals, drainageways, and finally ends up in our local rivers and streams – untreated!
It is estimated that more than one-half of the pollution in our nations waterways comes from stormwater runoff.
In the past, it was thought that water pollution was caused mainly by industrial and municipal wasterwater treatment plant discharges. A lot of effort was put into cleaning up these “point sources” of waste water. Now, the effort is being expended to clean up “non-point source” pollution, water pollution that is generated all over and carried to rivers and streams in pipes and ditches.
The problem with non-point source pollution is that it is very expensive to treat and discharge. Treatment facilities would have to be very large to treat storm peak flows and would sit unused more that 95% of the time.
The best way to improve stormwater quality is to treat the source? Don’t let runoff get polluted in the first place. These methods are called Best Management Practices (BMPs).
What can you do?
- Wash your car on the lawn or a commercial car wash.
- Pick up pet waste; bag and trash or flush in the toilet.
- Mulch grass clippings and leave on the lawn or compost.
- Sweep dirt into the lawn, pick up debris and put in trash.
- Target fertilizers and pesticides to the lawn and garden, and take excess chemicals to the household hazardous waste facility.
The Salt Lake County Stormwater Coalition is a partnership of Salt Lake County, the Cities in the County (Salt Lake, West Valley, Sandy, Murray, Cottonwood Heights, Riverton, Draper, Midvale, Holladay, Herriman, South Jordan, West Jordan, Taylorsville, South Salt Lake and Bluffdale Cities), Salt Lake Valley Health Department and the Utah Department of Transportation.
The Coalition was formed to facilitate the cleanup of stormwater pollution in Salt Lake County by educating Salt Lake County residents about stormwater – What it is, why stormwater quality is important, and methods to improve stormwater quality.