Pollution Carried by Runoff is the Greatest Threat
to Frederick County Waterways
What is polluted runoff?
When hardened or paved surfaces like roads and rooftops replace and cover the natural landscape they collect contaminants like pesticides, trash, dog waste, motor oils, and fertilizers. Rain water and snow melt fall on and flow over these paved surfaces, unimpeded, picking up speed and pollution that is then carried directly into local creeks and streams.
This toxic stew of pollution carried by stormwater runoff is the only growing source of water pollution in Frederick County and throughout the region.
When rain water runoff flows over natural surfaces like native plants and falls near trees, pollution is filtered out of the runoff and released free from contaminants. Polluted runoff is a man made problem. When we pave over natural filters without replacing their pollution treatment value along roadsides or in nearby rain gardens, our local pollution problem worsens.
Polluted runoff happens when we replace the natural landscape, the green sponge, with hardened surfaces, the gray funnel that carries pollution directly into Frederick County streams.
How does polluted runoff threaten local waterways and communities?
Pollution carried by runoff makes our waterways unsafe for swimming, threatens wildlife and causes localized flooding and property
damage. Polluted runoff causes lake closures, water contact advisories and downstream seafood consumption advisories. Worst of all, the creeks, streams, rivers, and lakes that pollution carried by runoff degrades ultimately feed the sources of Frederick County's drinking water.
With polluted waters flowing through our community, Frederick County's property values decline, public health consequences rise, and the local economy suffers.
If we allow polluted runoff sources to continue to increase, tourism dollars will decline because anglers will have fewer brook trout streams to fish. Paddlers on the Monocacy River will be faced with unhealthy levels of pollution exposure and allowing children and dogs to play in local streams will no longer be safe.
Polluted runoff is a serious and growing problem in Frederick County. For centuries, our society has not understood or considered the impacts that paving over the natural landscape would have on our natural resources.
Now, we must use common sense solutions to confront the problems that we've created by paving over the landscape and stop polluted runoff before it further damages local streams, the local economy, and Frederick County's quality of life.