Author: Baykeeper Intern- Anonymous
Runoff water from sewers can flow into potential drinking water and recreational water sources and can affect the animals living in the area, so it is important to understand the pollutants that can flow into these sources via the storm drains.
Primary pollutants in stormwater runoff are dog feces and pesticides/herbicides. Dog feces has many implications, the main one being a production of fecal coliform, a bacteria that can cause waterborne disease, in the water. Most of the fecal coliform in rivers comes from nonhuman sources, mainly dogs, as people discard their dog’s feces or neglect to pick it up and it gets swept into the waterways during a rainstorm. At the same time, chemical agents like pesticides and herbicides can also end up in the waterways during a storm. Those chemicals remain on the plants on which they are sprayed until they wash off, meaning that a storm can add potential carcinogens into the waterways.
Many of these chemical agents can also be bad for the skin, so a high amount in swimming water can be dangerous for humans. These pesticides are put on the plants either in peoples’ personal gardens or in larger amounts on farms and other agricultural endeavors. It is important to make sure that you are taking adequate measures to prevent both the addition of dog feces and chemical agents into the waterways in order to protect the wildlife that uses it as a drinking source and to protect the people that live around it.