Do you ever think about what happens to a drop of rain that falls onto the ground? It may land on a tree and evaporate; it may land on a grass and be absorbed into the soil; or it may land on a rooftop, driveway or road and travel down the street into a stream or storm drain.
Any rainfall in an urban or rural area that does not evaporate or soak into the ground, but instead pools and travels downhill, is considered stormwater. Stormwater is also referred to as urban stormwater, runoff and polluted runoff. Increased development across the Shire has made stormwater runoff the fastest growing source of pollution to the Tuggerah Lakes, rivers and creeks.
This untreated water then flows into our local creeks and rivers where it eventually ends up in our lakes or the ocean.
On its journey, stormwater picks up lots of nasty pollutants which can kill fish, plants and animals living in our waterways. It also makes the water dirty which isn’t pleasant when we’re swimming, fishing or boating. See what we have been doing to minimse some of these impacts.
It’s important to recognise that stormwater is different to wastewater. The sewer system carries wastewater from our house or business to a treatment plant where harmful contaminants are removed before it is released into the environment. On the other hand, stormwater flows directly into our waterways without being treated. Find out more and see what has been happening to fix this issue.
What can I do?
As stormwater travels across hard surfaces it collects all sorts of pollutants such as chemicals, oils, pesticides, fertiliser, dog poo, grass clippings, litter and sediments. What we do in the catchment can greatly impact the quality of stormwater.
But it’s not all bad news. By reducing the amount of pollutants that can be swept away with stormwater, we can help keep our estuary clean and healthy. Check out our tips.