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PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT

1515 East University Avenue
Lafayette LA 70501

Phone: 337-291-8500

DIRECTOR: Chad Nepveaux

Understanding Stormwater

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What is Stormwater runoff? Stormwater runoff occurs when precipitation from rain flows over the ground. Impervious surfaces like driveways, sidewalks, and streets prevent stormwater from naturally soaking into the ground.

Why is Stormwater runoff a problem? Stormwater can pick up debris, chemicals, dirt, and other pollutants and flow into a storm sewer system that leads directly to local waterways including the Vermilion River. Anything that enters a storm water system is discharged untreated into the waterways we could use for water activities including boating, fishing, and swimming.

The effects of pollution - Polluted Stormwater runoff can have many adverse effects on plants, fish, animals and people.

  • Sediment can cloud the water and make it difficult or impossible for aquatic plants to grow. Sediment can also destroy aquatic habitats.
  • Excess nutrients coming from detergents and fertilizer and animal waste can cause algae blooms. When algae die, they sink to the bottom and decompose in a process that removes oxygen from the water. Fish and other aquatic organisms can’t exist in water with low dissolved oxygen levels.
  • Bacteria and other pathogens that can come from mammal waste can create health hazards closing the area from swimming, fishing, and other water activities.
  • Debris- plastic bags, six pack rings, bottles, and cigarette butts - washed into waterways can choke, suffocate, or disable aquatic life like ducks, fish, turtles, and birds. Plus, it ruins the beauty of the waterways!
  • Household hazardous wastes like insecticides, pesticides, paint, solvents, used motor oil, and other auto fluids can poison aquatic life. DO NOT POUR DOWN STORMDRAINS! Land animals and people can become sick or die from eating diseased fish and shellfish or ingesting polluted water.
  • Polluted Stormwater often affects drinking water sources. This, in turn, can affect human health and increase drinking water treatment costs.

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