The Negative Effects of Stormwater Runoff


For many persons rain is soothing and refreshing. A storm might appear to have a cleansing effect for the environment, but in fact the water can have some damaging effects for the ecosystem. When it rains a lot all that stormwater goes in the ground, and that is not necessarily a good thing.

The thing about stormwater runoff, the water that rolls off the ground after it rains, is that it manages everything it encounters on the way.


Eutrophication is a phenomenon that happens when water from a storm becomes runoff and it brings other nutrients with it. The plants receive all those substances, but the water continues to roll off until it encounters a lake, a river or the sea. Here, water can have damaging effects on the ecosystem.

The nutrients that get into the water benefit the invasive species that live there. This directly affects the food chain and it harms other species that can no longer compete. When phytoplankton and plants evolve more than it is needed, more of them die and they sink to the bottom of the sea. There is a lot of bacteria at the bottom and they consume the dead plants. As a consequence of that, they create more carbon dioxide.

Dead zone

The bacteria create a dead zone where there is no oxygen. In that area no fish can live and that area cannot be used by humans either. The appearance of water will also change right away, and you will see that it turns from a peaceful blue color to a muddy green.

This is a dangerous phenomenon, and in the past decades it made  20% of the 10,000 fish species become endangered or extinct.

One of the best ways to avoid this is by planning a good urban infrastructure and making sure that no nutrients get in the water. Fortunately, most city planners and scientists have already considered this problem


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