What is stormwater and why is it a problem?

Stormwater is water from rain and snowmelt. As rain and snow fall to earth in forested and undeveloped areas, it is either absorbed or slowly runs off and dissipates. In a densely urban environment like Upton, where rooftops and paved areas not only prevent the water from being absorbed but also help it run off at a much faster rate, problems arise. Unmitigated, the stormwater could accumulate, causing nuisance flooding and possible threats to public health and safety. Flooding is only a part of the problem. As the rain falls onto our streets and runs off, it carries with it pollutants such as pet waste, gasoline, oil, and heavy metals. Pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers are washed from lawns and other green spaces. Sediments are eroded by wind and water from construction sites and un-vegetated landscape areas. With the passage of time, these pollutants will buildup in our local waterways causing environmental damage.

Show All Answers

1. Are sewers and storm drains the same thing?
2. What do I do if I observe someone dumping trash and other pollutants into storm drains?
3. What is a Catch Basin?
4. What is a Rain Garden?
5. What is an impervious surface?
6. What is stormwater and why is it a problem?
7. What is surface runoff?
8. What kinds of pollutants are found in the storm drain system?
9. What watershed am I in?