We hear all the time about the different pollutants that can flow into the storm drain system, and then to our ocean waters. But what are the most common storm water pollutants, and how do they adversely affect the environment? Here’s a quick reminder of all the damage pollutants can do…
Basically storm water pollutants can be broken down into four categories:
Common Storm Water Pollutants
Litter – including cigarette butts, bottles, cans, and plastic refuse
Chemical pollution – including motor oil, fertilizers, and detergents
Organic pollution – such as leaves, grass clippings, and animal waste
It can also cause plankton to produce neurotoxins in increased amounts, which has a major effect on the food chain.
For instance, in 2004 there was a mass die-off of over 100 dolphins off the Florida Panhandle, which was linked to ingested fish that had been exposed to high levels of brevetoxin, a neurotoxin produced by a type of marine plankton.
And of course, we know how litter affects the environment, with pieces of plastic both large and small covering vast stretches of ocean and washing up on our beaches. It is also deadly to marine animals and birds, which ingest bits of plastic, mistaking it for food.
So please help us spread the word about how critical our storm drain system is to our ocean environment. If we all do our part, we can prevent the kinds of ecological problems that are becoming much too common today!