City of Talent Oregon / Public Works / Stormwater / Stormwater Pollutants

Stormwater Pollutants and Challenges

 
Leaves & debris – When debris accumulates, it can inhibit the flow of stormwater runoff into gutters and storm drains. A backup in these systems could result in property damage due to flooding or structural damage.
 
DebrisUnderneath the leaves and debris lies a non-functioning storm drain; in many cases, clearing away the surface debris immediately restores drain functionality. Image courtesy of Scott Schiller, licensed under CC BY 2.0.
Removal/disturbance of vegetation – Streamside vegetation helps slow down erosion, traps sediment and pollutants from a variety of sources. Nearby trees provide shade to surface waters, keeping temperatures lower, which benefits native fish such as the Chinook and Coho salmon.
 
Hazardous household waste – Household items such as motor oil, paints, batteries, electronics, solvents and cleaners commonly contain toxic chemicals that take many years to degrade. Even small quantities can negatively impact the aquatic environment when these items make it into storm drains and waterways.

Erosion & Sedimentation – The processes of erosion and sedimentation slowly but constantly shape and alter our waterways. When left unaddressed, erosion can lead to property damage and destruction of public infrastructure such as storm drains, pipes and bridges. Sedimentation may lead to flooding, impair navigation, and decrease water quality.

Pesticides – This broad category includes: herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, etc. Most of these products adversely impact other forms of life besides the targeted nuisance. Pesticides are commonly introduced to our waterways via runoff from rain and irrigation, once there they can accumulate and remain in stream sediments for many years.

Fertilizers & agricultural runoff – When fertilizer runoff from lawn and agricultural use makes its way into the storm drains, this excess nutrients causes rapid growth in aquatic vegetation. As that vegetation dies and decomposes, it removes much of the oxygen in the water that fish, amphibians and invertebrates rely on to survive. In some cases, this leads to the death of aquatic life and uninhabitable “dead zones” in waterbodies.
 
Pet & livestock waste – The greatest external source of bacteria, virus and parasites for our lakes and streams comes from pet and livestock waste. Dog waste has especially high concentrations of fecal coliform bacteria. On average, a single gram of dog waste contains 23 million fecal coliform organisms. As with humans, the pathogens found in this waste can greatly injure aquatic life as well.
 
Residuals
Parking lots retain motor oil and other petrochemicals on their surfaces for months, rain eventually carries these toxic chemicals into storm drains. In Talent, stormwater like this enters creeks completely untreated, except in areas where green infrastructure has been installed. Image courtesy of Richard Masoner, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.
Vehicle residuals – Exposure to substances such as: motor oil, grease, and antifreeze can be very harmful to humans and wildlife alike. These chemicals are washed off roads and into our storm drains every time it rains, however the issue is exacerbated by leaky vehicles and pressure washing without taking proper precautions to trap contaminants.
 
Related:
Stream Smart
RVCOG Stormwater
RVSS Stormwater
US EPA Stormwater Public Education & Outreach
 
Additional Resources:
Car Wash Kits (Perfect for fund raising events!)
Stormwater Brochures and Flyers