Jul 31, 2023

What is stormwater?

Stormwater pollution poses a significant threat to the health of our ecosystems, water bodies, and overall environment. Rainwater runoff can carry a myriad of pollutants from various sources, including urban areas, industrial sites, and agricultural lands, into our rivers, lakes, and oceans. The consequences of unchecked stormwater pollution are far-reaching. However, what exactly is stormwater in the first place? How does it become polluted?

Stormwater is water that originates from precipitation, including heavy rain and meltwater from hail and snow. It flows over the ground, often collecting in storm drains, ditches, and eventually entering rivers, lakes, and oceans. It is a natural process of water runoff after a precipitation event. This water also can soak into the soil and become groundwater, be stored on depressed land surfaces in ponds and puddles, evaporate back into the atmosphere, or contribute to surface runoff. Stormwater is not filtered before it enters our rivers, lakes and coastal waters, which is why it can be so damaging to our environment and ecological system.

Stormwater pollution occurs when the stormwater runoff picks up various pollutants from the surfaces it flows over, such as streets, parking lots, construction sites, and industrial areas. The runoff travels into storm drains, ultimately reaching water bodies without proper treatment. These pollutants can include oil, chemicals, sediment, litter, pesticides, and more. This unregulated runoff can degrade water quality, harm aquatic habitats, and pose a threat to human health when contaminated water is used for drinking, swimming, or recreation.

Some of the largest contributors to stormwater pollution are things we do in and around our homes on a regular basis. Things like dumping motor oil, gasoline, or paint down your drains can be picked up by stormwater runoff. Not picking up your pet’s waste while on walks, in your yard, or improperly disposing of their litter also leads to pollution. Activities like washing your car in your driveway is another contributor due to the cleaning chemicals used running down into storm drains.

Preventing stormwater pollution is a necessity to ensure the health and sustainability of our environment. Victoria County’s Storm Water Management Plan (SWMP) describes the county’s efforts and programs to protect the water quality and address the elements of a stormwater management program. Our Environmental Services team works to prevent pollution in storm drainage systems by addressing five control measures: public education, outreach and envolvement, illicit discharge detection and elimination, construction site stormwater runoff control, post-construction stormwater management in new development and redevelopment, and pollution prevention and good housekeeping for municipal operations.

The public plays a crucial role in reducing stormwater pollution by adopting responsible practices and making conscious choices in their daily lives. There are several ways you can contribute to minimizing stormwater pollution. Things like: Picking up pet waste and disposing of it in the trash, limiting the use of fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides on lawns and gardens, washing your car on grass or gravel surfaces rather than on paved driveways, minimizing paved surfaces and maximizing green spaces on your property, and installing rain barrels to collect rainwater from downspouts for later use in watering plants are all great options to help reduce pollution. You can find more ways at

By adopting these practices, you can significantly contribute to reducing stormwater pollution and protecting the quality of our water bodies. Small actions add up, and when combined with the efforts of communities, they can make a substantial positive impact on the environment.

Christina Galindo is a health inspector at the Victoria County Health Department. She has been with Victoria County since 2006.

Susan Riley said:

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Leland Schroeter said:

Glenn, Jean and Family:

We certainly extend our sympathy to all of your family.

Leland and Cathleen Schroeter

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Sharon Orsak said:

Loved getting to know and work with her at Howell. She was an amazing role model with her work and the kind of person she was with all she knew. She made the world a better place.💞

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My heart breaks for the family, your mother was a fine and wonderful person that was kind to everyone. She'll be missed

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Ann Thacker said:

He was a funny, kind man. He brought me into this world & was our neighbor. I have very fond memories of him.

Ann Butschek Thacker

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