Stormwater runoff — water from rainfall or snowmelt that moves over the ground — is the most common cause of water pollution. In Whatcom County, most storm drains lead straight to streams, lakes, or marine waters — whatever goes into your storm drain will end up, untreated, in local waters. In developed areas, stormwater runoff poses two types of problems — water quantity and quality.
Quantity. In an undeveloped area such as a forest, much of the water from rainfall and snowmelt is absorbed by soil, which slowly releases excess water over time. But as land is covered with impervious surfaces such as rooftops, roads, and parking lots, there are fewer places where stormwater can be absorbed by soil. The greater amount of stormwater runoff, and the related increase in the speed of stormwater flow, erodes soil and adds to flooding problems.
Quality. As stormwater travels over the ground and impervious surfaces it collects pollutants such as pesticides, fertilizers, bacteria and other microscopic organisms, sediment, oil, and many others. Unless it's filtered or treated, stormwater carries those pollutants into rivers, lakes, and the ocean.
The buttons to the right provide links to recent stormwater management information and activities.