How Local Storm Water Systems Can Help Clean The Rivers and Oceans


Over the years how cities, neighborhoods, and even homeowners deal with storm water runoff has changed. In the past, most of it was funneled off the street and into the regular sewer system where it would cause overflows into the local rivers and streams. Now it’s thought that keeping as much water on-site and letting it soak into the ground is by far the best option. Here are some ways to do that on both a small and large scale.

Storm water Is Now Thought To Be A Valuable Commodity

As the populations of many cities grows and the climate gets warmer, there is less and less water to go around. Then, when it does rain, it does no one any good to allow all that water to just go down the sewers. Letting it run off into the local streams is also bad because it carries litter, car oils, detergents, pesticides, and fertilizers with it. Those chemicals then pollute the small streams killing everything from snails to fish. After awhile, only bacteria and fungi will grow in severely polluted streams.

Then, all of those millions of polluted streams flow into hundreds of rivers polluting them as well. After that, everything makes its way down to the ocean and there are now huge dead zones at the mouths of many rivers. This ruins the fishing industry, tourism, and may end up killing coral reefs for hundreds of years into the future.

The Answer Is In A Coordinated Storm Water System

This is when each individual property has its own detention area where storm water can accumulate and sit for a day or so while it soaks into the soil. This is the best solution since the water returns to the underground water table and is filtered by thousands of feet of soil, sand, and rocks taking sometimes over a year to reach the streams.

By that time all of the fertilizers, pesticides, and most of the oils have been broken down by microbes and the water is clear. Litter, on the other hand, will still have to be picked up, but at least it’s all in one place once the storm water subsides.

When the individual storm water capture areas at each home are overrun, then the neighborhood should have a secondary storm water detention area as well. The water can run down into a storm water system of pipes and into a large pond where it can sink into the ground from there. Only in heavy storms that last several days will water overflow the entire system and end up in the rivers and streams. This is a more natural way of managing rain water and storm water overflows.

If your local neighborhood doesn’t have storm water detention areas at regular intervals, there is nothing keeping you from establishing your own. Then, you can help some of your like-minded neighbors do the same. In the end, you’ll be helping the environment clean and filter the water before it enters streams and rivers. If everybody did the same we’d have sparkling clear rivers everywhere.

Leave a Reply