Stormwater treatment is important. Here’s why.
Growing concern about stormwater stems from research that contaminants carried in stormwater, otherwise known as nonpoint source pollutants, are one of the leading causes of water quality problems. Unlike pollution from industrial and sewage treatment plants, nonpoint source pollution comes from many sources. Nonpoint source pollution is the broad term referring to the type of pollution caused by non-specific sources, including human-made and natural pollutants. By contrast, direct dumping of chemicals by a factory would be a specific source for pollution. Each raindrop that falls on impervious surfaces, such as pavement, sidewalks, and roads, can mobilize pollutants on those surfaces. Everything from automobile oil and grease to trash and debris can be carried by runoff into our lakes, streams, rivers and oceans.
Stormwater pollution increases with urban and rural development. This extreme spread of impervious area multiplies stormwater pollution. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 80 percent of the U.S. population lives in a metropolitan area, and the majority live within 10 miles of a polluted river, lake or ocean. Almost 40 percent of these waters are not safe for drinking, fishing, swimming or boating.
Prevention of stormwater pollution is critical. All new developments, retrofits, or site expansions that exceed one acre or are in an urbanized area must implement a stormwater management plan for their site, according to the EPA.
The biggest issue most businesses and developers face when choosing a stormwater treatment solution is maintenance. For water quality goals to be met, management structures – whether natural or manufactured – must be properly maintained. Because systems vary in their maintenance needs, it is crucial for business owners and/or site developers to get involved in the decision making process. The selection of a cost-effective and easy-to-access treatment system can mean a huge difference in maintenance expenses for years to come.