Polluted Runoff: The Stories You Need To Know

Written by Matt O'Malley

Polluted runoff is the single biggest threat to water quality in San Diego.

What is polluted runoff?

Polluted RunoffPollutants like oil, grease, pesticides and litter build up on our streets and sidewalks each day. When it rains, and when sprinklers spill onto the sidewalk, water carries all of these pollutants through our storm drains directly into our rivers, bays and beaches without any treatment. Another large and related, and somewhat unquantifiable, problem is called industrial stormwater pollution. While this pollution reaches our waters in much the same way as everyday runoff, this type of pollution originates at the many industrial business sites across the county.

Why is polluted runoff the largest threat to our fishable, swimmable water?

Polluted runoff is the reason we can’t swim in the ocean for 72 hours after it rains, and it causes chemical build up in the fish we eat. But fighting polluted runoff isn’t as simple as stopping a single source of pollution. It’s a death by a thousand cuts, originating everywhere from car washes and sprinklers to streets, construction and industrial sites and farms. Imagine stopping the rain from pouring from the sky and running down the streets!

Dive into our polluted runoff series to explore the cutting edge of our work defending San Diego County’s water from urban and industrial runoff and learn how to make a difference yourself.

Stay tuned for more stories coming soon. 

Published in Urban Runoff

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