Smarter Business: Greening Advisor
Minimizing urban runoff
As rain falls and washes over rooftops, streets, and parking lots, it collects dirt, trash, and other pollutants, and often carries them into nearby rivers, lakes, streams, and oceans. In many parts of the country, urban runoff is the single greatest source of water pollution. In addition to dirt and debris, urban runoff can include such toxic components as oil and heavy metals like lead and mercury, as well as other pollutants that might find their way onto roads and rooftops. These pollutants can have a negative effect on drinking water supplies, recreation, and wildlife. Consider taking steps to reduce the amount of stormwater runoff from your property.
Tips to Reduce Urban Runoff
- Sweep sidewalks and other impervious surfaces instead of washing with a hose.
- Consider permeable surface alternatives to conventional asphalt and concrete.
- Maximize other permeable surfaces and vegetated areas, such as rain gardens, lawns and landscaped areas.
- Consider installing a "green roof" by planting vegetation on rooftops. Green roofs not only capture rainwater, but also offer increased thermal insulation and energy efficiency and even increased durability and lifespan compared to conventional roofs.
For more information on stormwater reduction, see the resources below.
- NRDC: Stormwater Strategies
- EPA: Managing Urban Runoff
- City of Santa Monica - Urban Runoff Reduction Tips
- General Manuals About Stormwater and Urban Runoff
- EPA: Bioretention (Rain Gardens) Fact Sheet
- Pervious Concrete Pavement
- Stormwater Manager’s Resource Center
- NRDC: Rooftops to Rivers
- EPA: Green Infrastructure -- Key Resources
- EPA: Green Roofs Fact Sheet
Sweep sidewalks and other impervious surfaces instead of washing with a hose.
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