What is the relationship between nitrogen and stormwater?
Stormwater is caused when precipitation and snowmelt runs off impervious surfaces like roads, sidewalks, rooftops and parking lots picking up pollutants and washing them into storm drains or directly into waterways that flow into Long Island Sound. In some cities, wastewater systems overflow during heavy rainfall or snowmelt, releasing untreated sewage directly to streams, bays and harbors.
Untreated wastewater from sewage overflows carries high levels of bacteria that threaten human health and marine life. Following these events, nearby beaches and shellfish beds must be closed to protect people from coming into contact with contaminated waters or consuming tainted seafood.
Green stormwater infrastructure such as rain gardens and vegetated swales are designed to capture run-off water and reduce overflows at sewage treatment facilities. These nature-based solutions can also help prevent nitrogen pollution from entering storm drains and streams and flowing into the harbors and bays of Long Island Sound.