Take Action now to show your support for clean water
Tell the EPA to stop delaying necessary updates for protection of clean water and public health! Tweet your representatives or send them a letter expressing concern over EPA’s delays and ask them to put pressure on the EPA to move forward on these critical updates and protect our future!
From basement backups to beach closures, polluted runoff can have big costs for communities.
Forty years ago, Congress enacted the Clean Water Act to end pollution of our rivers, lakes, and bays. But today, in the Northwest and nationwide, most water bodies still don’t qualify as clean and new threats to clean water are outpacing the act’s enforcers.
In 2011, polluted runoff caused 47 percent of beach closure and advisory days. A study of 28 popular yet polluted beaches in Southern California calculated that swimmers suffered an estimated 1.5 million gastrointestinal illnesses, resulting in an economic loss of between $21 million and $51 million every year.
When it rains in cities or suburban areas with lots of roads and rooftops, rainwater is unable to soak into the ground. Instead, it begins to rapidly accumulate and flows quickly along the surface where it picks up sediment, pesticides, oil, or heavy metals. The polluted urban runoff flows into storm drains where it is discharged untreated into local rivers and lakes. In cities with combined sewer systems, runoff can cause sewage overflows – sending untreated sewage into local waters.
Rainwater isn’t the problem. Rather, it’s how we’ve dealt with it – or not dealt with it – over the years. Right now, the Environmental Protection Agency has the opportunity to update and modernize its approach to managing runoff including requiring onsite management of runoff, capturing rainwater where it falls. This would incentivize green infrastructure like green roofs and rain gardens.
It’s time to take action!
To see a great overview of Puget Sound’s problem with polluted runoff: KCTS9/Earthfix “How we got into such a mess with Stormwater”