Storm water runoff is described as any
runoff that flows off rooftops, pavement, lawns, and streets. It
crosses an impervious surface picking up pollutants. These pollutants
can be in the form of chemicals, pesticides, salts, sands, sediment,
Storm water runoff mixing with clean water as it enters a pond
Storm water runoff
is contaminated water that enters our watershed. The ability of
runoff to carry phosphorus attached to soil particles contributes
to blooms of algae and aquatic plants in the water supply. Sediment
can also be carried into our water supply causing cloudy, turbid
water that eventually settles out filling our ponds, streams, and
Storm water runoff can also carry microorganisms into our water.
Bacteria, viruses, and other disease causing toxins can enter our
lakes and streams and render them unsafe for recreation. Toxic chemicals
from gasoline, motor oil, asphalt roadways, and lead from gas exhaust
can kill aquatic wildlife. It can also impair their ability to reproduce
or cause defects in future generations of wildlife.
As our town continues
develop to we must be more concerned with storm water runoff.Storm
water runoff not only affectsour above ground water supply, but
our groundwater as well. Since most of Southeast depends on well
water the effects of continued runoff would eventually impact the
quality of water we drink, use to cook, and bathe in.
What can be done to prevent storm water runoff from impacting our
We must try to preserve our forests and as many individualtrees
as possible within any new development. The canopy of a tree slows
down rainfall thus preventing rain from eroding the soil. The fallen
leaf matter does the same as it slows rainfall and allows it to
be absorbed into the soil. The soft humus layer under the leaves
will also soak up rainfall thus preventing runoff. The planting
of lawn areas actually exacerbates the problem. When tress are cut,
leaf decay disappears, and humus is removed the net result is that
rainfall cannot be absorbed and runs off the grass in sheet flow.
This sheet flow picks up fertilizer and pesticides and flushes them
in our water supply. When considering the impervious surfaces of
a single home one must remember rooftops, driveways, walkways, patios,
and grass areas. Often planning boards dont consider the Lawn
when determining impervious surfaces and unfortunately this leads
to greater storm water runoff.
Runoff along a road in Southeast
due to excessive tree cutting.
Another important component of storm water
runoff and its detrimental effects is the protection of our wetlands.
Buffer zone encroachment is probably the single largest contributor
to our loss of water quality. Buffer zones protect the wetland and
allow it to filter out contaminants before they enter our water
supply. Yet even with wetland regulations we continue to impact
these zones. The granting of waivers continues unabated despite
clear regulations against this. By keeping development out of the
wetlands we can allow nature to cleanse and purify our drinking
water. The buffer zones can trap sediment, filter out chemicals,
and encourage infiltration of the water back into the ground. By
utilizing the buffer zone we can actually turn storm water into
an asset. Protected buffer zones are a win-win situation for everyone.
In Southeast we have enacted good rules and regulations, we just
need to enforce them. Our community depends on enforced regulations
and our continued existence demands it.