What is polluted runoff?
As water flows over yards, farmland parking lots, roads, open spaces and other surfaces, it can pick up pollutants from the ground and carry them, through both natural and man-made drainages, to our local streams and rivers and eventually to the Pacific Ocean. Some of these pollutants can be very harmful to the environment.
Do you know the difference between the sanitary sewer system and the storm drain system?
The water that goes down a sink, toilet or floor drain in a home or business travels through the sanitary sewer system and ends up at a wastewater treatment plant, where most pollutants are removed with filters and treatment. The water is then discharged, under a permit, to a waterway or used as recycled water.
On the other hand, the water that flows down the storm drain from parking lots, roads, agricultural fields or other surfaces is not treated. It flows directly to a local creek, then to the San Joaquin River, the Delta and eventually the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean.
Common pollutants that end up in runoff include motor oil, pesticides and herbicides, brake dust, pet waste, household chemicals and more. The 2005 California Water Plan reports that In the San Joaquin River watershed, it is believed that the main water quality problems are the result of many factors, including:
These pollutants can have harmful effects on wildlife, recreation and on our drinking water supplies. Runoff in California is regulated by the State Water Resources Control Board and, in our area, by its Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board.
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