Stormwater pollution is bad for our health and for the environment.
What is stormwater pollution?
- When it rains, snows, or hails, excess water runs off buildings and roads into storm drains and into our waterways. In nature, stormwater is absorbed and filtered through the ground, but in cities, runoff water picks up pollution including pet waste, lawn chemicals, oil and plastic (to name a few). These pollutants flow into our waterways, poison our underwater ecosystems and can eventually cycle back into our food system and into our bodies.
6 Ways You Can Help Stop Stormwater Pollution
- Capture rain and reuse: Disconnecting your downspout from the stormwater system helps improve water quality and provides a household with water which can be used for gardening. Buy a rain barrel, make your own, or check out URI’s resources for a number of other approaches to saving the runoff from your roof. Follow SustainPVD on Facebook for news on upcoming rain barrel making workshops.
- Slow the flow with green infrastructure: Rain gardens (pictured right) and other green spaces act as semi stormwater blockades; they absorb water, and can be strategically placed to slow the flow of stormwater as it heads to a drainage point. For more information on how to create a rain garden, click here
- Keep storm drains clear: Never dump anything near a storm drain or water drainage ditch. These areas have no water treatment and lead directly to rivers and streams.
- Zero waste: Litter thrown and left on the streets will get washed into our water system one way or another. This is how waste gets into or waterways and eventually ends up in the ocean.
- Scoop the poop: Clean up after your pet. We don’t want poop on our shoes, and we definitely don’t want poop in our water system.
- Clean up clippings: Discarded clippings and other bits of yard waste easily clog up storm drains, causing neighborhood flooding.
Green Infrastructure Coalition
Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council: Stormwater
Rhode Island Department of Energy Management: Stormwater Design & Installation Standards Manual
Rhode Island Department of Transportation: Stormwater Management
URI: Rhode Island Stormwater Solutions
WATCH: Stormwater and the Providence water cycle
Follow Providence’s rainwater from first drop to final destination.
(Video Credit: Stephanie Seahorse)
Providence Stormwater Projects Storymap
Click through the story map to learn about local stormwater projects! Know of any we’re missing? Email with the location, a picture and a brief description of the project and we will add it to the map.