Streams and Urban Runoff

IMG_6461

What is stormwater and how does it impact water quality?

In urban and suburban areas, like Farmers Branch, much of the land surface is covered by buildings and pavement which do not allow rain to soak into the ground. Instead, this water, known as stormwater, runs off into the stormwater system. 

The stormwater system is a network of drains and pipes that ultimately end up in a waterway--be it a stream, creek, pond, lake, or river. In Farmers Branch, there are three creeks: Cooks Creek, Farmers Branch Creek, and Rawhide Creek.

When stormwater runoff enters the storm drains, it carries with it pollutants it comes into contact with like oil, dirt, chemicals, and lawn fertilizers. These end up in streams where they seriously harm water quality.

What can homeowners do?

To decrease polluted runoff, households can use alternative surfaces like porous pavements for driveways and native vegetation instead of high maintenance grass lawns. Homeowners can also use fertilizers sparingly and use yard waste to start a compost pile. 

Picking up after pets, disposing of chemicals properly, and checking for leaks from cars are other ways homeowners can reduce water pollution. Visit your local carwash instead of washing your car in the driveway to prevent soap from entering the storm drain. Yes, even soap is considered a pollutant.

Learn More About Urban Runoff