The Effects of Stormwater Pollution on Coastal Waters

UrbanUSRunoff
Contaminant Major Sources Effects
Nutrients
  • Nitrogen
  • Phosphorus
  • Fertilizers
  • Animal waste
  • Detergents
  • Atmospheric deposition
  • Leaking sewage pipes
  • Lowers oxygen levels
  • Destroys habitat
  • Promotes algal blooms
  • Limits recreation
  • Interferes with navigation
Pathogens
  • Bacteria
  • Viruses
  • Animal waste
  • Illicit connections between storm sewers and sewage lines areas
  • Leaking sewage pipes
  • Poses human health risks
  • Closes beaches
  • Closes shellfish harvesting
Hydrocarbons
  • Oil
  • Grease
  • Petroleum-based products
  • Polycyclic
  • hydrocarbons (PAHs)
  • Parking lots
  • Roads
  • Automobile emissions
  • Improper disposal of used motor oil
  • Illicit connections between storm sewer conveyances
  • Lowers levels of dissolved oxygen
  • Causes toxic impacts
  • Damages habitat
Toxic Organics
  • Pesticides
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)
  • Lawn care
  • Agriculturallands
  • Industrial uses
  • Illicit connections to stormsewer conveyances
  • Causes toxic impacts
  • Leads to human and animal reproductive abnormalities
  • Increases animal mortality rates
Sediments
  • Construction sites
  • Agriculturallands (cloudiness)
  • Logged forest lands
  • Eroded streambanks
  • Increases water turbidity
  • Alters water flows
  • Destroys benthic habitat
  • Blocks sunlight
  • Attracts particulate forms of metals and nutrients
Metals
  • Lead
  • Copper
  • Cadmium
  • Zinc
  • Mercury
  • Chromium
  • Illicit sewage connections
  • Automobile usage - emissions, brake pad residues
  • Atmospheric deposition
  • Industrial activities
  • Commercial activities

Increases toxicity of sediment and water column

Adds toxics to the food chain

Causes genetic defects, reproductive abnormalities and increased mortality rates among fish and wildlife

Increases risk of cancer, neurological disorders and birth defects.