15 to the River
The largest source of water pollution today is contaminated rain and stormwater. The stormwater falls onto our rooftops, lawns, and pavement. As it does so, it collects pollutants such as, pesticides, animal waste, litter, etc. Those contaminants then flow into storm drains and underground pipes.
In Grand Rapids, it takes just 15-30 minutes for polluted stormwater to move from your driveway into the Grand River. From there, it flows into Lake Michigan, carrying all the pollutants with it.
If stormwater is able to drain into the ground, the earth naturally filters out most of the pollutants. As a result, stormwater is not only cleaner, but also cooler and there is less of it. This is better for fish, invertebrates that fish eat, and plants in and around our bodies of water. It is also better for humans and property because there is less chance of flooding and related damages. Finally, natural stormwater filtering cuts down on the high costs of creating and maintaining the stormwater infrastructure saving the city money.
The key is to capture rain where it falls so it is able to drain into the ground. There are multiple ways we can help this process such as, implementing rain barrels, rain gardens, and porous pavement, as well as limiting impenetrable surfaces like parking lots.
For more information, go to 15toriver.org