What is Stormwater?
Stormwater is the runoff resulting from any rainfall event. Usually, problems with stormwater occur when an intense precipitation even deposits large amounts of water on the earth in a short period of time. The ground surface becomes saturated and is not able to absorb any more water, so the excess becomes surface runoff. Another cause of surface runoff in urban areas is the abundance of impervious surfaces. Surfaces such as concrete, asphalt, and building roofs block water from seeping into the ground. Runoff is often immediately channeled into storm sewers but all runoff ultimately ends up in streams, rivers, and the ocean.
How Does Stormwater Affect Me?
Improper treatment of stormwater can affect an entire city. Groundwater aquifers must be replenished periodically and the easiest way to do this is to allow stormwater to soak into the ground. If water cannot soak through the soil due to impervious surfaces, it will run off into the local streams, rivers, and lakes. Polluted stormwater is not only unappealing but it is dangerous to fish and plant life that require clean water. Runoff picks up and carries off many contaminants from impervious surfaces including litter and debris, pesticides, fertilizers, and even air pollutants that have fallen out of the air and settled on the ground. Stormwater runoff can negatively affect local water quality but there are ways to prevent this problem.
What Can We Do About Stormwater?
You have taken the first step to help your community deal with stormwater - you are educating yourself. The next step is to follow a few simple guidelines that will improve water quality in your area and prevent stormwater pollution. The pages listed below include more information about stormwater, its effects, how you can help improve it, and what Radford is doing in regard to stormwater. Stormwater Glossary & Definitions