Stormwater runoff is the number one source of pollution to our surface water. Some common pollutants include the following
Sediment - from streambank erosion, contestation site or farmland activities, sediment is the number one source of pollution in North Carolina waterways. Sediment buries aquatic nurseries, reduces water clarity and suffocates aquatic life. Some heavy metals and other toxic substances bond with sediment, which then remain in the streambed.
Vehicle fluids - oil, antifreeze, and other fluids often leak from cars onto parking lots or are spilled during maintenance, which can be carried by stormwater runoff to the closest body of water.
Fertilizers and pesticides - are made of nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus. Too many nutrients in water can cause algae to grow, which, when it degrades, uses up the oxygen in the water. Low levels of oxygen in water can harms aquatic life.
Bacteria - may come from pets, wildlife, or human waste, and can cause diseases and dangerous infections in animals and people who come in contact with contaminated water. When waste such as pet droppings is left on our lawn, the bacteria in it can be easily transported to nearby waterways by stormwater.
Litter - the most visible of pollutants, it is easily prevented. When thrown on the ground, litter travels and can eventually end up in storm drains, ditches and streams. Disposing of litter can be a costly expense for a large number of communities. In 2007, North Carolina spent $16,755,795 on removing 505,934 bags of litter along roadsides.
Yard clippings and leaves - washed or swept into storm drains can contribute nutrients and organic matter to streams. Grass clippings, leaves, and yard trimmings that are recycled or composted are a free source of nutrients for your yard, supplying not only carbon and nitrogen, but they also shade the soil and reduce the need for water.