Sediment, nutrients, bacteria, debris, and household wastes are a few examples of storm water pollution.
Sediment can be harmful to aquatic life such as plants, fish and animals that depend on the water for their livelihood. Sediment can carry chemicals that could cause the oxygen levels in the receiving streams to be dangerously low and unsupportive of plant and fish life. Sediment can also destroy habitats that support aquatic insects and plants.
Nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus can cause excessive plant growth such as algae. This algae clogs waterways, block sunlight and reduces oxygen that is available for aquatic life. Common sources for nutrients are fertilizers (lawn and farm), detergents and excrement.
Bacteria can cause disease and other health hazards in both animals and humans. Bacteria can enter the waterways from animal excrement or pet waste, as well as leaking sewers and septic tanks that are not maintained properly.
Debris such as plastic bags, six-pack rings, cans, bottles, cigarette butts, and the like can be washed into the waterways and choke, suffocate, or disable aquatic life like ducks, fish, turtles, and birds. This debris could also contain toxic chemicals and bacteria.
Household wastes which consist of insecticides, pesticides, paint solvents and thinners, petroleum products (gasoline, oil, and grease), auto fluids, etc. deplete oxygen in waterways and could cause toxic effects in living organisms that may be ingested by people.