Stormwater Runoff

When precipitation falls on roads, streets, rooftops and sidewalks, it can push harmful pollutants like fertilizer, pet waste, chemical contaminants and litter into the nearest waterway.

FAQ

  • What is stormwater runoff?

    Stormwater runoff is precipitation in an urban or suburban area that does not evaporate or soak into the ground but instead runs across the land and into the nearest waterway.

  • What can be done to ease the effects of development?

    There are many low-impact development techniques that can be installed around homes and buildings. Rain gardens, porous pavement and green roofs are a few techniques that will help reduce pollution from developed areas.

  • What are impervious surfaces?

    Impervious surfaces are paved or hardened surfaces that do not allow water to pass through. Roads, rooftops, sidewalks, pools, patios and parking lots are all impervious surfaces.

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Terms

  • Chemical contaminants

    Pesticides, pharmaceuticals, metals and other toxic substances that can harm the health of both humans and wildlife.

  • Erosion

    The disruption or movement of soil by wind, water or ice, occurring naturally or as a result of land use practices.

  • Impervious

    A hardened surface or area that does not allow water to pass through. For example, roads, rooftops, driveways, sidewalks, pools, patios and parking lots are all impervious surfaces.

  • Nutrients

    Chemicals that plants and animals need to grow and survive but, in excess amounts, can harm aquatic environments. Elevated levels of the nutrients nitrogen and phosphorous are the main cause of poor water quality in the Chesapeake Bay.

  • Pollution

    The introduction of harmful substances or products into the environment.

  • Precipitation

    Rain, snow, sleet or hail that falls to the ground.

  • Sediment

    Loose particles of sand, silt and clay that settle on the bottom of rivers, lakes, estuaries and oceans. Suspended sediment pushed into the water by erosion is one of the biggest impairments to water quality in the Chesapeake Bay.

  • Stormwater

    Any precipitation in an urban or suburban area that does not evaporate or soak into the ground, but instead collects and flows into storm drains, rivers and streams. Stormwater is also called urban stormwater, stormwater runoff and polluted runoff. Increased development across the Chesapeake Bay watershed has made stormwater the fastest growing source of pollution to the Bay and its rivers and streams.

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