Last week, we talked briefly about the Clean Water Act of 1972 and the regulating effect on discharges into America’s waterways. Storm water has become a primary source of pollution around the country, especially in urban areas, as the Clean Water Act has forced the cleanup of wastewater and runoff from industrial facilities. In November of 2012, the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board issued new rules that include strong incentives for cities in LA county to work together on projects that capture and filter rainwater in the ground as a part of the effort to clean up the discharge from Los Angeles county. Storm water runoff drags heavy metals, pesticides, cigarette butts, animal waste and other pollutants into streams and rivers, and eventually to the Pacific Ocean.
From the LA Water Board press release: “Storm water runoff remains a major water quality problem in the Los Angeles region, posing a threat to human health and water ecosystems. Pollutants in runoff have caused beach closings, fish consumption warnings, reduced habitat for threatened and endangered species and unsightly accumulations of trash and debris in waters of the county.” The new regulations are specifically designed to combat these public health hazards.
Some of the projects to preserve and capture rainwater include regional projects to capture storm water by using soil and plants that naturally absorb and filter the water. For the homeowner, the EPA WaterSense program offers sound advice on water smart and cost-efficient landscaping projects, including soil and plant tips that will make the most of rainwater (and potentially save you money on your water bill). There are links available state-by-state, and nationwide links for a broader scope.