Sources of Contaminates

Many contaminants present in our streams, rivers and lakes are the result of our everyday activities.

The sources of these pollutants are many: excess fertilizers and pesticides that are used on lawns, gardens and agricultural crops; oils and road salt from roadways and parking lots; sediments from agricultural activities, construction sites, etc.

Healthy waterways contain a diversity of aquatic life—all functioning together in a biological balance. This balance is severely impacted by stormwater runoff carrying these contaminants. Some of them alter the temperature of the water while others contribute to increased algae and weed growth, decreased amounts of dissolved oxygen, and cloudy water. In other words, the quality of the water all life must have becomes increasingly degraded as we allow more and more pollutants to reach our streams, rivers and lakes.

Not only is our drinking water and aquatic life impacted, our enjoyment of water related recreational activities such as swimming, boating, and fishing is also diminished, if not completely eliminated, when stormwater carries pollutants into our waterways.

There are many actions we can each take to protect our water resource. By learning about the characteristics of healthy streams and actions we can take to work toward quality water, we can make a difference. Remember, you don’t have to live near a waterway to have an impact on the quality of water. Learn about actions you can take at: