Stormwater is rain and snowmelt that runs off the surface of the land. The storm sewer system, mostly underground pipes, carries stormwater to our streams and lakes. As stormwater runs over the land (especially hard surfaces), it can pick up fertilizers, dirt, pesticides, oil, grease, trash, and other pollutants left on the land by human activity. It is challenging to address stormwater pollution since it comes from everywhere on the land.
The most common way that pollution ends up in our water is through urban stormwater runoff. Since stormwater pollution comes from many different activities on the land, traditional regulatory controls do not always work like they do for industrial pollution. Instead, we rely upon education and outreach to promote individual actions to reduce stormwater pollution. Everyone can take actions to prevent stormwater pollution, either by reducing the potential for pollution or by slowing or stopping the flow of stormwater.