Understanding Stormwater Management

Stormwater vs. wastewater

Wastewater is generated from within homes, businesses and industries. It originates from kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, etc., as well as from industrial and manufacturing processes. Water from these sources flows through a county or city’s wastewater treatment plants, where it is processed.

By contrast, stormwater takes the form of runoff — the result of rain flowing off roofs, yards, streets and parking lots and into bodies of water such as streams, lakes, rivers. This runoff may also make its way into wetlands and infiltrate groundwater.

Why stormwater management is important

As runoff washes over these surfaces, it picks up a variety of pollutants: dirt, pet waste, litter, motor oil and others. Stormwater management seeks to reduce and/or remove many of these pollutants and keep them out of our area’s waterways.

In addition to lessening pollutants in stormwater, these facilities also slow the rate of stormwater flow. This second function has a major impact on reducing the risk of flooding in our area.

Types of stormwater management facilities

This is accomplished by channeling runoff through specially built landscaped and structural features called stormwater facilities. These facilities may include retention ponds, inlets, ditches and drains.

Stormwater management is a major factor in protecting the health of streams, lakes, wetlands and drinking water in our region.