How To: Control Stormwater Runoff

By Craig Schill 
GreenEriePA Writer

Controlling the amount of pollutants and chemicals entering the water table is an important job for not only business owners, but also for anyone who owns property. Parking lots, roofs, and sloped or bare soil all contribute to runoff into nearby streams during a rain event and thus must be engineered properly to allow more rainwater to enter the soil rather than run over the surface. Improper construction of certain structures does not allow water to enter the soil where pollutants can be pulled from the rainwater. Although runoff cannot be prevented, it can be managed to avoid one of our most precious resources becoming polluted beyond repair.

Why Should I Try to Control Runoff?

Lakes, rivers, and wetlands can become polluted when a substantial amount of chemicals enter them.

Vehicle leakage of oil and antifreeze and certain pollutants harm aquatic wildlife.

Nearby beaches can become unsafe for waders and swimmers with increased bacteria levels.

A potential problem could be flooding, especially in one's basement which can become very costly to repair.

How Do I Limit Stormwater Runoff Pollution?

Make sure your vehicle does not have any issues with leakage, and if so, use some sort of container or carpeting to catch any drippings until repairs can be made

Keep all pesticides and chemicals indoors and capped to ensure nothing can be released from their holding containers

If you have pets, make sure to dispose of their droppings down the toilet to avoid waste material being carried away to a nearby stream during a rain event

Cover bare soil areas by planting vegetation over them or using ground cover

When possible, install pervious pavement to allow rainwater to enter into the underlying soils

Ensure your gutters are efficient in carrying water to a safe location where water will be given a chance to enter into the ground

Remove sloping areas on your property to decrease water flow and allow more precipitation to enter the soil

Photo courtesy of Craig Schill