More than Fines – Health Risks of Stormwater Runoff

More than Fines – Health Risks of Stormwater Runoff

Stormwater runoff poses a number of risks. For you and your company, it can result in significant EPA fines. For the communities in which the runoff occurs, it can pose a serious public health concern. According to a 2003 study, Public Health Effects of Inadequately Managed Stormwater Runoff, minimizing stormwater runoff and the resulting pollution through stormwater management can protect public health at a low cost.

Stormwater Runoff and Public Health Problems

When inflows of runoff reach surface bodies of water, the water can become contaminated. Outbreaks of waterborne illnesses have been linked to stormwater runoff. Acute illnesses can be caused by water that contains bacteria, viruses, and protozoan oocysts. The immunocompromised, the elderly, children, and pregnant are at the highest risk for serious illness and death from such pathogens. They make up approximately 20% of the US population.

Types of Contamination by Stormwater Runoff

Examples of contamination from stormwater runoff:

  • Nitrogen in drinking water from fertilizers carried by stormwater, vehicle exhaust, and septic systems
  • Fecal coliform bacteria in drinking water or consumed via seafood from contaminated waters
  • Copper, zinc, and lead in runoff in urban areas with roofs, roads, and parking lots

Best Practices for Stormwater Management

The study suggested several best practices and possible solutions for stormwater runoff management, including:

  • Designing compact sites to absorb stormwater, and reduce runoff volume, and remove pollutants by enhancing infiltration into the soil.
  • Creating vegetated buffer areas and ensuring a minimum of 150 meters of impervious areas water bodies and a potential source of stormwater runoff.
  • Using low impact development strategies to reroute runoff from impervious surfaces areas to places where it can infiltrate the soil (either natural or constructed).

SWEPE: T-Environmental’s End-to-End Stormwater Runoff Solution

To control the volume of stormwater, T-Environmental’s engineers developed the SWEPE stormwater system. The SWEPE program includes site evaluations, water storage basin design and customization, tailored maintenance logs and schedules, and ongoing maintenance and monitoring. For more information, please visit our homepage!

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