Local News

Runoff Pollution A Top Priority For State Agency

Posted June 18, 2002

— Water and runoff pollution, or the dirty water that ends up in storm drains, is a hot topic of discussion these days.

The water that goes down the drain in the kitchen sink ends up at a water treatment facility. However, water outside the home could have catastrophic effects on our water supply and the environment.

"Anything that's on the ground is easily absorbed into the ground, such as oils, and greases on driveways, fertilizers over-applied on lawns. When it rains, it takes those materials and it flows all the way into the rivers," said Don Reuter of the

Department of Environment and Natural Resources

.

Once those levels of pollution reach critical levels, Reuter said, it becomes dangerous for people to fish, swim or boat in those waters.

That is why runoff pollution has become a top priority for the agency.

"In this particular section of the Neuse River basin, 61 percent of the streams, rivers and creeks are rated poor to fair, which is among the lowest classifications we have in terms of the quality of our water," Reuter said.

Something as simple as washing a car could pollute the environment. The dirty, soapy water that runs into storm drains is untreated, and could end up polluting local lakes and streams.

In fact, everything that runs off into storm drains is not treated. So it is easy to take everyday activities, like an oil change or fertilizing the lawn, for granted.

"It's a witch's brew of pesticides, fuels, fertilizers and waste products, and it goes into our rivers and streams," said Ernie Seneca of the Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources.

There are simple things we can all do to help protect the environment:

  • Make sure your car is not leaking oil.
  • Do not fertilize the lawn before a heavy rain. The fertilizer will be washed away and end up in a storm drain.
  • Do not use too much of a pesticide or fertilizer. The state Department of Agriculture provides

    tips on how much fertilizer to use

    .

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