Polluted stormwater runoff is a leading cause of impairment to the nearly 40 percent of surveyed U.S. water bodies that do not meet water quality standards. When rainwater falls on impervious (impermeable) surfaces - rooftops, roads, parking lots, compacted ground - it runs off rapidly into storm drains, sewer lines, or directly into our streams and ponds. The problem with treating stormwater like trash is two-fold. First, stormwater running over roads, parking lots, and construction sites collects and carries with it various pollutants. Runoff from roadways, for example, carries with it salt, oil and grease, petrochemicals, nutrients, bacteria, and sand. Second, stormwater that goes quickly into storm drains deprives local groundwater reserves of the natural re-filling (or "recharge") supplied by rain gradually seeping back into the ground.
The Greater Boston area near Route 495 is being rapidly developed with new homes, malls, roads, businesses, and parking areas. This means large swaths of land are now impervious, directing runoff right into the storm drain system that, in turn, discharges directly into the area rivers and tributaries. Research shows that when more than about 10 percent of a watershed is impermeable, the water quality in its rivers or lakes is adversely affected.
Clean stormwater is a valuable resource that, when properly managed, can help restore our rivers.
Here are three ways to help:
Low Impact Development (LID)
Recharge Projects (funded by Intel)
Nashoba Brook Watershed Project