A sweeping solution to stormwater pollution

March 01, 2023

This column is by Minnesota Sea Grant and Water Resource Center Extension Educator Maggie Karschnia.

There’s a surprisingly simple and proven solution to stormwater pollution. When it rains in urbanized places like parking lots and paved streets, instead of soaking into the ground, stormwater runs off these impermeable — essentially water-proof — surfaces picking up and transporting pollutants along the way. Some of the pollutants in stormwater come from what’s washed off impermeable surfaces and some pollutants come from leaves and other organic debris that clog storm drains. When polluted stormwater ends up in our rivers and lakes, people and pets and livelihoods are at risk.