Our urban and suburban streams and rivers are plagued by polluted runoff every time it rains. This polluted runoff is the fastest growing source of water pollution in our region due to over development, weak regulations, outdated infrastructure, and increasing frequency and severity of storms due to climate change. Stormwater transports trash, oil, and toxic chemicals into our waterways, and causes severe flooding. And when sewers overflow, raw sewage flows into our rivers – and sometimes into people’s basements – causing public health crises. The impacted communities are often the most disadvantaged and overburdened by pollution. Our Waterkeepers are using several strategies to reduce polluted stormwater runoff, ensuring that our neighborhood streams, rivers and bays become fishable and swimmable once again, and our drinking water supplies are protected.
Waterkeepers Chesapeake and several Riverkeepers have been fighting to get the states to issue permits that adequately control polluted runoff. We support state legislation, push counties, and argue in the courts to get:
- enforceable limits in the permits
- regulations and development guidelines that use up-to-date precipitation data to account for increasing frequency and severity of storms due to climate change
- public participation processes when agencies set deadlines and limits
- adequate monitoring and compliance timetables
- requirements for the elimination of non-stormwater pollution discharges
- reduce or ban plastic pollution and place the responsibility on producers of plastic
We have a global plastic pollution crisis. About 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic have been produced since the 1950s, half of which was produced in the last 15 years. Unfortunately, 91% of plastics are not recycled. Instead, they are incinerated or end up in landfills or the environment. Plastic is the top litter found in our local waterways. Learn what our Waterkeepers are doing to battle plastic pollution.
You can make a difference!
Report polluted runoff to your local Waterkeeper. Find yours here: https://waterkeeperschesapeake.org/our-waterkeeper-members/
Document polluted runoff with photos and video by using our Water Reporter app: https://www.waterreporter.org. Download it today!
Support legislation that strengthens the permits and regulations to reduce urban and suburban polluted runoff, and reduces plastic pollution.