The Effects Pollution
Polluted Storm Water runoff can have many adverse effects on the environment, including plants, fish, animals and people. Some common pollutants and contaminants found in Storm Water and run off include the following:
Sediments are often from poorly maintained construction sites and include dirt and soil. Sediments can cloud the water and block light, thus affecting the environment underwater. Think of how different things would be in our lives if we did not have the sun. For example, it would be impossible for many plants to grow without the sun. The same is true in aquatic environments. Aquatic plants also need light to grow and provide food for birds and fish. Sediment also can destroy aquatic habitats by reducing the volume depth of water and altering the pH and chemical balance of the water.
Excess nutrients are from materials like fertilizers, yard clippings, pet wastes, and food litter. Excess nutrients can cause algae blooms. After the bloom, the algae die off and sink to the bottom of the water body. Algae then 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 come from sanitary sewer overflows, pet wastes and other inappropriately dumped infectious material. Bacteria and pathogens can wash into swimming areas and create health hazards, often making beach closures necessary. Additionally, they can cause illness in birds and fish which can in turn affect people who come into contact with the wildlife.
Debris - plastic bags, six-pack rings, bottles, and cigarette butts - washed into playa lakes can choke, suffocate, or disable aquatic life like ducks, fish, turtles, and birds. Not to mention they create unsightly pars and recreation areas. No one wants their children to play next to a dirty, trash filled playa lake!
Household hazardous wastes like insecticides, pesticides, paint, solvents, used motor oil, and other auto fluids can poison aquatic life. Land animals and people can become sick from eating diseased fish and shellfish or ingesting polluted water.
Polluted Storm Water often affects drinking water sources. This, in turn, can affect human health and increase drinking water treatment costs. Water is a valuable resource- in West Texas we are all too aware of how limited and precious a resource.