Photos of the Long Island Sound

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Curbing Polluted
Stormwater Runoff

What is Polluted Runoff?

Did you know that the way we care for our homes, lawns, cars, and streets says a lot about how much we care about the health of Long Island Sound? That’s because commonly-used products such as fertilizers, pesticides, household cleaners, and motor oil can pollute Long Island Sound if we fail to use and dispose of them properly. How so? Rain or melted snow can carry products such as fertilizer, pesticides, or leaking motor oil from driveways, streets, and lawns into local streams or storm sewer systems. Eventually these harmful chemicals get flushed into the Sound.

Step by Step: Learn more about how you can curb polluted runoff by viewing our on-line guide

Why Should We Be Concerned?

Here are a few reasons:

  • The oil from a single automobile engine can produce an eight-acre oil slick;
  • The fertilizer that helps keep lawns and plants abundant, can fuel the growth of algae when it reaches a water body, and suck up the oxygen needed for fish and other animals living in the Sound;
  • And the soil washed into the Sound can harm fish eggs and clog up harbors.

What Can You Do?

Bronx River Outfall Pipe

An outfall pipe, below fence, discharges sediment into the Bronx River.

You’ve already started by reading this page, and becoming aware that, “If it Goes on the Ground, it Goes in the Sound.” The next step involves learning what you can do at home and in your community to reduce polluted runoff. Simple steps such as don’t fertilize before a rain storm or cleaning up pet waste can help. To learn more, the Long Island Sound Study recently published a guide to curbing stormwater pollution. For more information, see on-line guide.

Learn More

Other Useful Guide Include:

Turning the Tide: Originally published by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.

After the Storm: Published by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, and based on a video produced by the EPA and the Weather Channel.

Nonpoint Source Outreach Toolbox: This EPA archive is intended for use by state and local agencies and other organizations interested in educating the public on nonpoint source pollution or stormwater runoff. The Toolbox contains a variety of resources to help develop an effective and targeted outreach campaign.

The Nonpoint Educational Municipal Officials (NEMO) network also describes how to reduce polluted runoff, including tips on how to reduce impervious surfaces and to allow for the infiltration of water. The methods include designing pervious driveways, parking lots, and building “green roofs.” In our area, visitConnecticut NEMO and click on “reducing runoff”, and New York NEMO. For children who want to learn more about polluted runoff, EPA has a kids page on its website.

Did You Know?

EPA’s Stormwater Program

Polluted stormwater runoff is a leading cause of impairment to the nearly 40 percent of surveyed US water bodies which do not meet water quality standards. The EPA’s Stormwater Program addresses this serious problem by requiring municipalities with storm sewer systems, and certain industries and construction sites, to develop stormwater management programs. These programs are intended to effectively reduce or prevent the discharge of pollutants into local water bodies. In New York and Connecticut, the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Stormwater Program is administered by the Connecticut DEP and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. For more information visit the CTDEEP and NYSDEC stormwater pages.

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