When a watershed becomes developed, both the quantity and quality of stormwater moving through the system changes. Soil that would normally absorb rainwater is replaced by impervious surfaces—roads, roofs, compacted ground—as the land becomes more developed, resulting in more stormwater. Gutters, drains and storm sewers further concentrate stormwater and often send it directly into streams and lakes.
Water quality is at
risk due to a combination of factors. First, the volume of stormwater
increases with urbanization. An increase in water quantity means that
there is more water to carry pollution and erode stream banks and drainage
systems. In addition to more stormwater, the number of sources for nonpoint
pollution—fertilizers, pesticides, automotive fluids, pet waste,
and so on—also increases with development.
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