The environmental agencies in each state point out that non-source pollution is the major cause of the increase of storm water pollution. Non-point source pollution is run off from suburban and urban areas.
Because of the wide use of concrete and asphalt in residential neighborhoods, non-source pollution is carried from these impervious surfaces into storm drains directly into the nations waterways. The hard surfaces make it easy for oil, gas, antifreeze, or waste from pets that is left on the ground to get washed into the storm drains.
Every drop or spill of these and other bi-products of urban living are constantly being washed down storm drains. These substances add to the pollution of the rivers and streams. This steady increase in pollution creates a steady decline in the integrity of the water system. Storm water pollution presents a huge problem.
Everyday, thousands of pounds of pollutants find their way into the water. Some of these corrosive chemicals are introduced into the ecosystem. They are absorbed or attach to fish and wildlife, creating an unhealthy habitat for fish and fowl as well as for humans.
The magnitude of the pollution problem grows as civilization expands. In order to protect the safety and integrity of these water resources, many cities implement their own set of training, guidelines and fines for industries as well as individuals.
Industries are provided a set of strict guidelines regarding their use and disposal of hazardous materials.
The primary purpose of The Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1972, that was amended by the Clean Water Act of 1977 was a warning to industries and other businesses to make a concerted effort to work to restore and protect the quality of the nation's surface waters.
The interim goal of these acts was to insure that the nation's waters were kept "fishable and swimable".
While industries are held to a higher standard for the implementation of this process, it is the non-source pollutants from residential sources that pose the largest threat. Within the guidelines of the CWA, there is a clear statement that makes it unlawful to release pollutants into waterways.
The States received funding in excess of 50 billion dollars for construction of sewage treatment plants. However, in some cities and towns, water is not treated. The run off from urban and suburban flow into larger bodies of water. The end result of this massive amount of waste from individuals as well as industry is a pollution problem that is out of control.
Toxic and hazardous waste must be controlled at every level. Consumers must understand the danger associated with common household products, the chemicals in lawn care products and the use of flammable and corrosive or toxic materials that may end up in lakes and streams.
Some product labels may mislead consumers into assuming that they are environmentally friendly. It is a good idea to read and understand the chemical formulations prior to using them on a large scale.
The surface waters that are covered by the Clean Water Act are defined broadly. The surface waters include rivers, lakes, intermittent streams, and even wetlands. The important point for every contributor to the problem of pollution (which is everyone) to consider is that every little bit of waste hurts everyone.