STORMWATER POLLUTION—WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Stormwater pollution is caused by the daily activities of people everywhere. Rainwater and snowmelt run off streets, lawns, farms, and construction and industrial sites and pick up dirt, fertilizers, pesticides, oil and grease, and many other pollutants on the way to our rivers, lakes, and streams. Stormwater runoff is our most common cause of water pollution and one of the most difficult to control. Stormwater pollution is everyone’s responsibility every day.
Stormwater pollution is sometimes called non-point source pollution because it doesn’t come from one specific location. Point source pollution comes from a discrete source, like an industry or a wastewater treatment plant. Point sources are heavily regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ). Non-point source pollution is much more difficult to regulate because it comes from so many different activities. Therefore, the best solution to stormwater pollution is education.
The actions we take each day in and around our homes have a profound effect on stormwater quality in the Umatilla Basin. Small amounts of pollution from many different sources can significantly affect our waterways. Yard maintenance, waste storage, car washing and maintenance, and pool cleaning are some of the activities that can adversely impact water quality. The best management practices (BMPs) discussed here are practical ways to keep storm water from becoming polluted in the first place. Please note that some of these practices may already be required by various state, federal, county, or city laws