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News & Articles
What’s the Big Deal with Storm Drains?
Every so often it is helpful to take a gnome-sized step back and talk about why we’re so concerned with overwatering. The drought is certainly a big part of it because up to half of all residential water use occurs outside the home, but conservation is actually not the only thing we think about. The term “overwatering” is really about watering so much that the water runs off the yard and into the storm drain not just using too much water.
The biggest impact of overwatering is that it carries fertilizer, pesticides, and pet waste (along with all of the nasty bacteria inside of it) into the storm drain system. Over the next few weeks, we’re going to spend a little time talking about the how and the why of overwatering and its impact. Before we do, though, here is one quick graphic that really puts the impact of pollution in the storm drain system in context.
ORANGE COUNTY BEACH GRADES 2013-2014
The above Beach Grades are from the quarterly report card for Orange County beaches put out by Heal the Bay. There are two key takeaways. First off, in dry weather Orange County has great water quality at our beaches and our most recent scores are outstanding! That’s awesome. Second, during wet weather, the beaches are not so great. The decline in quality is not because the rain water is hitting the sand, it is because the storm drains are draining into the water. The rain water surges into the storm drain and carries out all of the pollution that has been building up between the rains. A big part of the pollution is carried into the storm drains by our overwatering during the non-rainy days. That’s within our power to stop.