Each day I wake up and start working, I am confronted with the sad truth about what is going down the storm drain and out into our waters. It’s the same for all of us at work. It’s changed the way we live as people. We can’t see what we see and not think about water quality.
A little over five years ago, I took a look inside a stormwater filtration vault for the first time. Until that point, I had never even known what stormwater really was. I’ll never forget the disgust I felt when I saw all of the trash and nastiness that had come off of our roadways. It was a major turning point for me.
In the years since, I’ve only become more disturbed at what is going down the storm drain. According to the EPA, more than half of the rivers and streams in the United States are in poor health. The largest source of water pollution in American waters is agricultural and urban runoff. It’s astonishing to me that this issue does not receive more attention.
Many people do not know what stormwater is or that it flows untreated into the nearest bodies of water. When I tell people that I work in the stormwater industry, almost always they ask what that means. It wasn’t until my late twenties that I fully understood.
If more people knew about stormwater and its impact on the quality of water on the planet, maybe more would change. The stormwater industry is continually developing new ways to manage stormwater, which will continually shape our role at Seventy1. The systems we service now are not 100% effective in removing pollution, but in time, hopefully they will be. It will take more than the stormwater industry, the EPA and the stormwater compliance department of the each city to get to the point when we have completely eliminated polluted runoff from entering the nearest waterway.
We as a society need to understand the impact that we are making in order for change to take place. I believe in the power of awareness. The more people that know how much pollution is discharging into the bodies of water around us, the more quickly change will happen for the better.
Since we are deep in stormwater every day (literally and figuratively), we’d be crazy to not share our experiences in hopes of making change. We’ve taken to social media with our new StormwaterAware program as a way to further our efforts in spreading awareness about stormwater runoff and its impact on the only water we will ever have on this planet.
So please join us in spreading the word on stormwater!