Harmful Stormwater Effects

In the vast majority of the Anacostia River watershed, the storm drains from our streets and parking lots empty directly into the Anacostia and its tributaries. That is why storm drain marking efforts are so important: these signs let you know that the strom drains dump into the Anacostia River.

Runoff


Collection of trash at Bladensburg Waterfront Park after rainfall

Because storm drains empty directly into our waterways, every time it rains it is like your neighborhood takes a bath – all the trash, dirt, chemicals and other nasty stuff laying on our roads and parking lots is washed down storm drains and into the Anacostia River. This is why stormwater runoff is our biggest challenge. It is the main way bacteria, toxics, and trash end up in the river. 

Erosion


Severe erosion along the Anacostia

The high volume and intense nature of stormwater flow severely devastates our natural filters of the water. It results in severe erosion that damages the ecological function of our streams, leads to loss of trees, and results in severe sedimentation in the lower Anacostia. A stormwater pipe outfall into a stream has the same effect as a firehose in a sandbox.

 

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