STORMWATER STRAIGHT TALK: What goes on the ground sticks around

  • Published
  • Robins Public Affairs

When it rains, a portion of rainwater does not soak into the ground. Instead, it flows over the ground surface – especially if it is an impervious surface, such as concrete or asphalt, or dense soil, such as clay.

This runoff water is defined as stormwater.

Stormwater that is not absorbed by the ground is directly discharged into public waterways such as ponds, lakes, creeks, and rivers.

Stormwater easily becomes contaminated with a variety of pollutants that can harm our environment, particularly in urban areas. Pollutants can accumulate in waterways and degrade their many beneficial uses for swimming, fishing and drinking. Pollutants can also harm aquatic life, further impacting the ecosystem. There are generally four main types of stormwater pollution, including:

- Chemicals such as fertilizers, pesticides, solvents, or paint waste
- Litter such as cigarette butts, cans, styrofoam, wrappers, and plastic bags
- Natural materials such as leaves, sticks, garden clippings, and pet waste
- Sediment, typically from construction sites or unvegetated soil

Ultimately, keeping our waterways clean is everyone’s responsibility, every day.

There are many ways you can help keep our water clean by implementing your own best management practices around your home.

The following are just ten examples of things you can do to help minimize stormwater pollution:

- Never dump anything down storm drains or into streams
- Do not overuse fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides, or within 24 hours of expected rain; follow the instructions provided on the packaging and use these products sparingly
- Check your car for leaks and recycle your used motor oil
- Dispose of unused household chemicals in accordance with local regulations
- Dispose of trash and litter in lidded receptacles
- Pick up after your pet
- Sweep patios, driveways, and sidewalks rather than washing debris into curbs and storm drains
- Dispose of yard waste in appropriate paper bags for pickup, not in the trash bin
- Vegetate bare spots in your yard
- Direct downspouts away from paved surfaces; consider a rain garden to capture runoff

By keeping up with these simple acts, you can help keep waterways around Robins clean and safe.

For more information, call 478-222-2526.

Editor’s Note: Stormwater Straight Talk is a quarterly column intended to educate and inform base personnel and families about stormwater management.