Why is stormwater an issue?

As stormwater travels through a conveyance system, such as catch basins, culverts, pipes, and open ditches, it collects and carries significant sources of pollution to streams, rivers and lakes. Common pollutants carried in stormwater include:

  • Bacteria
  • Cleaning agents
  • Excess nutrients
  • Grease
  • Herbicides
  • Industrial chemicals
  • Oil and heavy metals
  • Pesticides
  • Salt
  • Sand
  • Soil/silt
  • Toxins
  • Trash
  • Yard waste

Potential Problems

Although pollution conveyed by stormwater has historically been overlooked due to the complications associated with identifying and treating the contaminants, it is one of the most significant sources of stream and lake water quality degradation. Lack of proper stormwater management can lead to:

  • Impaired water bodies which limit swimming, fishing and other forms of recreation (Lake Champlain beach closings)
  • Polluted drinking water supplies (the community's stormwater discharges ultimately go to Lake Champlain which is also the source of the Town's drinking water supply)
  • Increased flooding due to clogging of streams
  • Degraded wildlife habitat, as erosion washes silt into streams
  • Increased algal blooms in the Lake due to high levels of phosphorous and fertilizers
  • Loss of tourist revenue as streams become polluted and the Lake is no longer viewed as "clean" or "environmentally safe"

Show All Answers

1. What is stormwater?
2. Why is stormwater an issue?
3. What benefits can be expected from improved stormwater management?