Going Deeper into Stormwater from NDEP’s EE Newsletter


We need your help to make a difference in stormwater pollution! Common pollutants such as oil and sediment from roadways, along with nutrients and toxins from urban and rural areas, combine with stormwater to become “runoff.” This runoff carries pollutants released from cars, excess fertilizer released from residential lawns and farms, and pathogens from human and animal waste. This runoff is called “nonpoint source” (NPS) pollution. The EPA describes NPS pollution as the single largest cause of the nation’s deteriorating water quality. NPS pollution includes pathogens, nutrients, toxic chemicals, trash, sediment, and even thermal pollution. Pathogens are disease-causing microorganisms, such as bacteria and viruses that come from fecal waste of humans and animals. Nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus stimulate plant growth. However, improper use of fertilizers and improper disposal of sewage can release these nutrients at such high concentrations that they pose an environmental hazard. Eroded soils and geologic materials (such as sand and gravel) are transported in stormwater and deposited as sediments in streambeds, retention ponds, reservoirs and lakeshores. Large deposits of sediment can alter stream flows and decrease the amount of healthy aquatic habitats. Toxic chemicals include petroleum products, metals, pesticides, and persistent organic pollutants such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). These toxins can harm the health of aquatic organisms and human beings. Trash constitutes visual pollution that diminishes our enjoyment of natural waters and may also contain toxic chemicals within the debris. Finally, as runoff moves across paved surfaces and concrete channels, the water absorbs heat, creating thermal pollution. Removal of streamside vegetation and riparian habitat eliminates shading of natural waters and can also contribute to thermal pollution.

In conjunction with Clark County Conservation District’s promotion of the 2016 Stormwater Pollution Prevention Poster contest, the District received funding from NDEP to revamp and distribute the “Down the Drain ● Stormwater & You” workbook. The colorful booklet is available NDEP’s Environmental Education webpage. This 10-page booklet is a fun, educational review of the water cycle, watersheds, storm drains, and wetlands blended with Word Scramble, a Drain Game, Pollution Puzzler, Word Search and more.

Source: http://ndep.nv.gov/edu/index.htm

See the whole Newsletter: http://ndep.nv.gov/edu/docs/newsletter_sept_2016.pdf


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