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What is stormwater and why is it a problem?

Why must we all help in the solution?

Stormwater comes from rain water or snow melt that is unable to soak into the ground due to impervious surfaces such as roads, roofs, sidewalks and parking lots.  Stormwater picks up many different pollutants as it flows across the ground like oil, fertilizer, pesticides, and pet waste. The stormwater then flows into the storm sewer system, where it is emptied into streams untreated.  When this happens, much more water enters the streams than their channels can handle.  This leads to flooding, pollution, and loss of habitat for aquatic organisms such as fish.


In urbanized situations, this nonpoint source of pollution that we all contribute to has degraded our once vibrant streams. It will take all of us working together to solve the problems associated with stormwater pollution.


Graphic courtesy of the Philadelphia Water Department

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