Inner West Council

Stormwater Pollution

What is stormwater?

Stormwater is rainwater that falls on roofs, paved areas and roads, into drains, then directly into local creeks, rivers and eventually the ocean.

What is stormwater pollution?

Before it flows into street drains stormwater picks up all manner of dirt, debris and other material from the surfaces it flows over. These items end up in our local creeks and waterways. The most common forms of stormwater pollution are:

  • litter - such as cigarette butts, plastic bags, paper, cans and plastic bottles
  • chemical pollution - such as detergents, oil and fertilisers
  • 'natural' pollution - such as leaves, grass clippings and dog poo
  • sediment pollution - such as soil erosion and runoff from building sites

Impacts on plants and animals

Stormwater pollution can kill plants and animals that live in the water. For example:

  • sediment in the water reduces light penetration and affects photosynthesis, the process that allows plants to use light as their source of energy
  • when green waste decays in water it uses up oxygen, taking vital oxygen away from plants, fish and other aquatic animals
  • soil makes waterways cloudy and can suffocate fish by clogging their gills
  • litter clogs waterways and causes toxicity as it breaks down. It affects the health of birds, fish and other animals and plants that live in the waterways.

 Reducing Stormwater Pollution

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