Help Protect Our Waterways from Stormwater Pollution

We need your help to protect the Town of Windsor’s waterways! According to the EPA, stormwater pollution is the No. 1 cause of water pollution in the country. 

Stormwater Pollution

Stormwater pollution occurs when rain or snowmelt flows over a surface, such as a street or a driveway, and picks up pollutants — oils, chemicals, trash, and other materials not found naturally in our waterways. These pollutants then flow into the storm sewer system, which drains untreated to our local lakes, streams, and the Cache la Poudre River. Polluted stormwater may result in significant impacts on the receiving waters that detrimentally affect both the aquatic ecosystem and quality of life in our community.

Storm Drain Pollution (Shutterstock)

The Effects of Stormwater Pollution

Polluted stormwater runoff can have many adverse effects on plants, fish, animals, and people: 

  • Sediment clouds the water and makes it difficult or impossible for aquatic plants to grow. Sediment can also destroy aquatic habitats.
  • Excess nutrients can cause algae blooms. When algae die, they sink and 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 can wash into swimming areas and create health hazards, often necessitating swim-beach closures.
  • Trash — plastic bags, six-pack rings, bottles, and cigarette butts — washed into waterbodies can choke, suffocate, or disable aquatic life such as ducks, fish, turtles, and birds.
  • Household hazardous wastes — insecticides, pesticides, paint, solvents, used motor oil, and other auto fluids — can poison aquatic life. Predatory and scavenging animals, as well as people, can become sick or die from eating diseased fish and shellfish or ingesting polluted water.
  • Polluted stormwater can also find its way into sources of drinking water. This, in turn, can increase water treatment costs and adversely affect human health. 

Source: EPA's Website "A Citizen’s Guide to Understanding Stormwater"

How Can You Help?

Windsor needs your help! Motor oil, antifreeze, dirt/sediment, grass clippings, leaves, and paint are common pollutants that can damage our environment. Please make sure that these items are not left in the street, on the sidewalk, or elsewhere – Ideally, only runoff water would enter a storm drain.

Taking a few simple steps will go a long way to reducing pollutants in stormwater runoff: 

  1. Direct downspouts and gutters onto your lawn and plant beds (or into rain barrels), so runoff seeps into the soil instead of picking up pollutants.
  2. Sweep fertilizer and soils onto the lawn so they are not easily washed into storm drains.
  3. Collect leaves and grass clippings instead of blowing them into the street, thus reducing nutrient pollution.
  4. Promptly clean up oil, gas, or other spills and leaks on your driveway. Use cat litter to absorb oil.
  5. Pick up pet waste to help reduce bacterial and nutrient pollution.
  6. Remove trash from street gutters to prevent it from falling into storm drains.
  7. Use swales (low areas) to hold and filter water.