In many parts of Pennsylvania, stormwater overwhelms aging sewage infrastructure, causes flood damage, and puts people’s health at serious risk.
Unfortunately, the problems associated with stormwater aren‘t limited to major storms; they often result from the average rainfall event. Human activities have altered the landscape so dramatically that the natural system for stormwater management no longer works.
Consider the path rainfall takes when it hits the ground: it either soaks into the ground to become groundwater, evaporates, or flows over the surface of the land. This overland runoff—stormwater—feeds our surface waters, but it also carries sediments, chemicals, automobile oil, trash, and other natural and not so natural debris along with it. Groundcover, trees, soil, wetlands, and a wide range of other landscape features act as buffers and barriers that slow stormwater, trap or filter out pollutants, and enable infiltration and evaporation to occur.
The Land-Water Link
As development occurs, buildings, roofs, paved roads and parking lots, flattened and non-vegetated landscapes, and exposed bedrock create hard surfaces with little or no ability to slow the stormwater.
Removing the natural functions of the landscape increases the volume and rate of stormwater flow—and the amount of pesticides, fertilizers, oil, bacteria, trash, and other pollution that gets carries into our water supplies.