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Storm Drains and Water Quality

It is the responsibility of the citizens to properly dispose of household wastes to reduce the sources of nonpoint-source pollution that threaten our water resources.

Storm drains are the square metal grates found at the sides or corners of streets. They are designed to collect storm water and melting snow off of streets and other paved surfaces to help prevent flooding.

When it begins to rain, the first drops soak into the ground. Once the soil is saturated, or if the soil has been replaced by an impervious barrier, the rain runs along the surface and is caught in the storm drains.

As the rainfall runs down the streets and through yards, the water picks up debris and garbage. This “runoff” frequently contains materials that pollute our waterways, harm wildlife, and degrade water quality. Common contaminates in stormwater may include lawn chemicals, pet waste, household chemicals like paint, soaps used for washing cars, oil, and grease. Even products advertised as “nontoxic” or “biodegradable” are not safe for our waterways either. While this type of pollution may be small from a single household, it becomes a big problem when you consider the waste from thousands of homes in a neighborhood, town, or city. The effect is a deluge of dirt, trash, and toxics that produce more water pollution than all the sewage and industrial plants in the nation.

Sediment, pesticides, and debris will find its way into waterways and seriously harm water quality. This causes a reduction of vital oxygen in the water; disruption of the habitat for the plants and animals that make the river their home; and diseases that can create human health problems.

What can you do to help?

Following are some steps to take to limit runoff and make sure the runoff stays clean.

The government has enacted legislation aimed at improving water quality. However, it is the responsibility of the citizens to properly dispose of household wastes to reduce the sources of nonpoint-source pollution that threaten our water resources. We are all part of the problem. We can all be part of the solution.

For more information log on to www.protectingwater.com or www.lcra.org.

Town of Denton Department of Public Works, 650 Legion Road, Denton MD 21629 Phone: 410-479-5446 Fax: 410-479-5447

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