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Stormwater, or Non-point Source Pollution, is from diffuse sources and is the leading cause of water pollution in the United States today. Stormwater pollution results from rainfall or snowmelt contacting and carrying contaminants over and through the ground, eventually entering lakes, rivers, wetlands, coastal waters, and even underground drinking water sources.
Examples of non-point source pollutants include:
Stormwater runoff is directly related to the amount of impervious surface cover, such as streets, parking lots, and rooftops, where water is unable to be absorbed. Improperly managed stormwater washes pollutants into our streams and rivers. As with many urban watersheds, the Mystic is greatly impacted by stormwater.
The effects of stormwater reach farther than just polluting the waters. As the many residents in the Mystic River Watershed have seen, stormwater can cause flooding, habitat degradation, sewage backups, and erosion. The problems related to stormwater runoff are not going to go away, but will only increase. As more and more open space land is developed and covered by impervious surfaces, stormwater cannot infiltrate into the ground and is forced to become runoff.
All operators of stormwater drainage systems, such as municipalities and public agencies, are required to have stormwater discharge permits. These permits are administered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
The Mystic River Watershed Association advocates for Low Impact Development (LID), or development that limits the amount of stormwater runoff through designs including green roofs, permeable pavement, bio-retention facilities and rain gardens.
Visit https://mysticriver.org/ to learn even more.