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Monthly Tip: June

“Running off” to the beach

The month of June signals the start of the official beach season. Most Rhode Islanders spend at least some time at their local beaches each summer, enjoying the sun, the sand, and the water.

Unfortunately, it is the time when Rhode Islanders most notice what is being washed down stormwater drains every time it rains, because it is right there at their favorite swimming spot.

Stormwater runoff is the main source of water pollution – to freshwater, drinking water and marine waters − not industrial discharges or sewage treatment plants.

If you’ve ever noticed water flowing down the street when it rains, then you’ve noticed stormwater. When stormwater hits the pavement, it picks up and mixes with what’s there. That may include:

  • Oil, grease, and automotive fluids
  • Fertilizer and pesticides from gardens and homes
  • Bacteria from pet waste and improperly maintained septic systems
  • Soap from car washing
  • Debris and litter

Many people assume that stormwater flows down storm drains and then to a treatment facility. That is almost never the case. It either flows directly into local waters or down storm drains, which channel it into local water bodies, posing a health risk as well as doing a good job of spoiling a nice day at the ocean, bay, river or pond through its presence in the water.

Fortunately, there are simple steps that you can take to help you safeguard Rhode Island’s waters, which are available here on the RI Stormwater Solutions website.