Pollutants - Sediment

Sediment and Erosion Pollution


Roofs, parking lots, and streets increase the speed and volume of storm water causing erosion and sediment pollution

Sediment can degrade water quality for people, animals and fish in multiple ways. Sediment can clog stormwater drains and increase flooding; sediment can make water treatment more expensive and it can change the taste and odor; sediments can clog fish gills and thereby increase disease; sediment can accumulate on the bottom where it smothers and disrupts benthic, or bottom, organisms and habitats; sediment can be suspended in the water column where it reduces the water clarity necessary for growth of submerged aquatic vegetation and disrupts predator/prey dynamics in fish; sediment can carry nutrients that activate blue-green algae to release toxins, making the water unsafe for swimming; sediments can alter the flow of water and reduce water depth making fishing and boating more difficult or impossible.

Excess sedimentation is also increased by stream bank erosion, from neglect or development, lack of regulation and enforcement, and poor construction site management, even from minor home improvement projects like room additions or yard landscaping.

Image 1 Driveway being replaced with no sediment controls

Image 2 Unmaintained channels accumulate organic debris that rots placing an additional oxygen demand on the creek and degrading surface water quality and habitat. (Location Twelve Mile Creek at Fontaine Drive). From the Three Mile Creek Watershed Management Plan, 9-5-2014

Image 3 Sediments from Construction Sites Entering Drain Outlet

Common Sources: Increased runoff from roofs, driveways, parking lots, roads and manicured lawns.; Head cuts from increased runoff

Things you can do: Sweep yards and driveways instead of hosing them off; compost or bag yard waste and grass clippings; Plant a Tree, Install runoff prevention measures, Petition local government for stormwater plan, Use porous paving materials, Install a rain barrel, Install french drains,