The Problem: What is Stormwater Pollution?
Stormwater pollution is urban runoff water that has picked up pollutants as it flows through the storm drain system, a network of channels, gutters, and pipes that collect runoff from city streets, neighborhoods, farms, construction sites, and parking lots, and empties directly into local waterways.
Unlike sewage, which goes to treatment plants, urban runoff flows untreated through the storm drain system. Anything thrown, swept, or poured into the street, gutter, or a catch basin, the curbside openings that lead into the storm drain system, can flow directly into our channels, rivers, and eventually to the ocean. This includes pollutants like trash, pet waste, cigarette butts, motor oil, anti-freeze, runoff from pesticides and fertilizers, paint from brushes and containers rinsed in the gutter, and toxic household chemicals.
How Stormwater Pollution Affects Madison County Residents
Toxic pollutants in contaminated runoff pose a risk to anyone or anything that comes in contact with it, especially children and pets attracted to water running in the gutter. Stormwater pollution threatens our drinking water and polluted runoff empties into the streams and rivers, contaminating our local waters. Litter, leaves, and other debris can also clog catch basins along streets and at intersections, causing flooding when it rains.
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How Stormwater Pollution Affects Madison County Businesses
It is illegal for businesses without a permit to discharge wastewater or other materials into the storm drain system. Stormwater pollution degrades our neighborhoods, contaminates our communities, and hurts Madison County’s image as a desirable place to work and live.
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The Answer: How to Prevent Stormwater Pollution
Everyone in Madison County can help prevent stormwater pollution. It is most often caused by everyday behavior that you may not realize contributes to the problem. Simple changes in everyday life are all it takes to help prevent stormwater pollution, if we all do our part. Find out how you can help.