What is Stormwater?
Rain water that flows across the land is called stormwater
runoff. In vegetated areas such as forests, fields
and wetlands, rain water seeps into the ground. However, when rain falls on paved and other hard surfaces it runs off and is conveyed by pipes and ditches directly to wetlands, streams, rivers, and lakes.
Why is it important?
When it rains, stormwater flows over the ground and picks up pollutants and carries them directly into creeks, streams, and lakes without being treated. Stormwater pollution can include dirt, soap, litter, pet waste, oil, fertilizer, or pesticides. The National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Phase Two Permit regulates municipalities’ stormwater discharges to help improve water quality and reduce pollution. Both NCDOT, City of Graham, and the City of Burlington have a NPDES permit. Educating and engaging the community on stormwater-related issues helps inform them about the importance of stormwater quality, and gives them the knowledge to make responsible decisions to reduce pollution at its source, it also allows community members to come together and help support local stormwater initiatives that will improve water quality within the watershed.
Encouraging the proper application
of lawn fertilizer and organizing volunteer clean-up activities for roadsides or waterbodies are common examples of directly informing and engaging the watershed’s community. The project partners have been implementing external education efforts over the duration of their NPDES MS4 permits. These efforts, while diverse and numerous, have been focused at a broader level to maximize the extent of awareness and provide straight-forward messaging.