Environmental Health and Radiation Safety

Stormwater Brochure

Only Rain Down the Drain

Stormwater is rain that falls on roofs or paved areas like driveways and roads. This water is carried away by a system of stormwater pipes that is separate from the sewage system. It soon reaches our rivers and eventually the ocean. We can help prevent stormwater pollution from ruining our waterways by taking steps to stop detergents, paints, leaves, cigarette butts and other litter from ending up in our gutters and drains. Gutters and drains carry the rainwater from our streets straight into the surrounding lakes and rivers. So when it rains, stormwater runoff can carry pollutants from around our homes and streets to the waterways where we swim, boat, and fish. The surrounding plants and animals also live in this water. 

Recently, the Ohio EPA identified key pollutants which affect one of the waterways at UT – our Swan Creek.  Pollutants include Total Particulate, Nitrate/Nitrite, Total Suspended Solids, Total Aluminum, Ammonia, Dissolved Solids, Strontium, Dieldrin and E. Coli. The actions you take below can have a significant effect on some of these pollutants.

10 Things You Can Do to Prevent Stormwater Pollution

  1. Never dump anything on the street, down a storm drain or in a drainage ditch.
  2. Scoop up after your pet. Bag it and throw it away in the trash.
  3. Compost grass clippings and leaves or bag them for curbside collection.
  4. Use fertilizers and pesticides sparingly. Do not apply on paved areas.
  5. Check your vehicles for leaks and repair them.
  6. Reduce, reuse and recycle the amount of cleaning and maintenance chemicals used at home.
  7. Recycle motor oil and other vehicle fluids.
  8. Throw litter in its place.
  9. Wash cars at a commercial car wash or on a grassy area, not your driveway.
  10. Encourage active citizen participation in stormwater protection and public group education on stormwater quality.
  11. Consider limiting fireworks displays to the professionals, as fireworks are a contributor to Strontium pollution.

Why Should You Care?

Imagine no longer being able to fish, swim or wade through your favorite stream, river or lake. It might surprise you, but many waters in the area are degraded due to polluted stormwater runoff.

Each time it rains, the resulting stormwater runoff picks up debris such as litter, pesticides, chemicals, motor oil and dirt as it flows across the rooftops and lawns, streets and parking lots. These pollutants are deposited, untreated, into our waterways. Increased runoff from developed areas can also cause flooding and erosion of stream banks, which creates even more sediment that, enters our streams.

Stormwater pollution can make monitoring and treatment of our drinking water difficult and costly. In addition, it can hinder the health of the aquatic ecosystem. If polluted stormwater contaminates our water resources, the result can be the closing of our rivers, lakes and streams to the public. 

Last Updated: 7/15/24