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Stormwater Pollution Prevention Basics

Updated: Jun 22, 2023


Stormwater pollution prevention is a critical environmental issue that affects the health of Utah rivers, streams, and oceans. When it rains in Utah, stormwater runoff carries pollutants from streets, parking lots, and other impervious surfaces into our waterways. These pollutants can include oil and grease from vehicles, fertilizers and pesticides from landscaped areas, and sediment from construction sites.

One of the most effective ways to prevent stormwater pollution is by using green infrastructure techniques. Green infrastructure refers to the use of natural systems, or engineered systems that mimic natural processes, to manage stormwater runoff. Examples of green infrastructure techniques include:

  1. Green roofs: Green roofs are roofs that are covered with vegetation. They help to reduce stormwater runoff by absorbing and filtering rainwater.

  2. Rain gardens: Rain gardens are shallow basins that are planted with native plants. They are designed to capture and filter stormwater runoff from impervious surfaces such as roofs and driveways.

  3. Permeable pavement: Permeable pavement is a type of pavement that allows water to pass through it. This can help to reduce stormwater runoff and prevent pollution by allowing water to infiltrate into the ground rather than running off into waterways.

  4. Rainwater harvesting: Rainwater harvesting involves collecting and storing rainwater for later use. This can help to reduce stormwater runoff and prevent pollution by reducing the amount of water that flows into stormwater systems.

In addition to using green infrastructure techniques, there are several other steps that individuals and communities can take to prevent stormwater pollution:

  1. Properly maintain vehicles: Oil and grease from vehicles is a major contributor to stormwater pollution. Properly maintaining vehicles and disposing of used oil and other automotive fluids properly can help to reduce this type of pollution.

  2. Use fertilizers and pesticides responsibly: Fertilizers and pesticides can wash off of lawns and gardens and into stormwater systems during rain events. Using these products responsibly, such as applying them at the correct time and in the correct amounts, can help to reduce stormwater pollution.

  3. Properly dispose of trash: Litter and other debris can wash into stormwater systems during rain events, leading to pollution. Properly disposing of trash and litter can help to prevent this type of pollution.

  4. Support green infrastructure projects in your community: Local governments and other organizations can implement green infrastructure projects to help manage stormwater runoff and prevent pollution. Supporting these types of projects can help to make a positive impact on the health of your local waterways.

By using green infrastructure techniques and taking other steps to prevent stormwater pollution, we can all play a role in protecting the health of our rivers, streams, and oceans.

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