When rain falls on hard, impervious surfaces like roads, parking lots, and roofs, it creates stormwater runoff. Runoff can also include water that flows over permeable areas such as lawns and forests. As it travels, runoff can pick up pollutants such as pet waste, litter, yard waste, chemicals from vehicles, and even soil or other types of sediment. Once that polluted stormwater goes down a storm drain it flows directly to the closest stream, river, lake, bay, or ocean.
The majority of water pollution in North Carolina is caused by polluted runoff. Since we rely on water for drinking, growing crops, and for recreation like swimming and fishing, we all need to take steps to protect our local water resources.