Managing Stormwater Pollution

Emerson Paynode
April 17, 2013 — 1,753 views  
Become a Bronze Member for monthly eNewsletter, articles, and white papers.

Stormwater is water that has accumulated from periods of acute precipitation. The term can also be applied to water that originates from melted snow, which then enters the stormwater system. Stormwater that is not absorbed into the ground becomes surface runoff, which either flows into surface waterways or is channeled into storm sewers. Surface runoff also discharges into natural water sources such as rivers and lakes. 

Stormwater raises environmental concerns in many rural and urban areas. Excessive amounts of stormwater can impact flood control and affect water supplies in communities. Also, potentially harmful contaminants are often carried along by the water, which then contaminates water supplies as well as natural water sources. On the positive side, stormwater is a resource that can provide communities in developing countries with readily available drinking water. Stormwater is deemed potable after undergoing a rigorous purification process.

Impervious surfaces such as parking lots, roads, buildings, and compacted soil do not allow rainwater to infiltrate into the ground. This causes significant surface runoff. This additional runoff can erode natural water sources and cause flooding after the stormwater collection system has been overwhelmed by the additional flow. Pollutants that enter the surface waters are known as polluted runoff.

Human and animal activity results in the deposition of pollutants on roads, lawns, roofs, farms, and fields. When rain or irrigation causes surface runoff, these pollutants make their way into rivers, lakes, and oceans, poisoning ecosystems and contaminating water supplies. Stormwater pollution is a serious issue in both developed and developing societies. Preventive measures and stormwater products need to be developed and implemented to ensure that water supplies and the environment are protected.

Stormwater management is concerned with managing the quantity and quality of stormwater. This also denotes structural and engineered control devices and systems that treat polluted water, as well as operational practices. Stormwater management aims to manage stormwater by controlling flood, erosion, as well as surface runoff. Hence, by constructing stormwater filters, contaminants can be removed before they pollute water supplies and sources.

In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency is charged with regulating stormwater management in through the Clean Water Act. The aim of the Clean Water Act is to restore all waters of the United States to drinkable, fishable, and swimmable standards. This act also aims to regulate sewage and industrial effluents with the use of stormwater products to avoid poisoning the environment.

Emerson Paynode