Water > Urban Runoff and Stormwater Control

As rain falls and washes over rooftops, streets, and parking lots, it collects dirt, trash, and other pollutants and often carries them into rivers, lakes, streams, and oceans. Consider taking steps to reduce the amount of stormwater runoff from your facility.

Tips to reduce urban runoff

  • Sweep sidewalks and other pervious surfaces instead of washing with a hose
  • Consider permeable surface alternatives to conventional asphalt and concrete
  • Maximize other permeable surfaces and vegetated areas such as rain gardens, lawns and landscaped areas
  • Consider planting grass and trees on rooftops

For more information on stormwater reduction, see the resources below.

Stormwater Management Can Save Money

At 2.5 acres, the green roof atop the Target Center, home to the Minnesota Timberwolves, captures about a million gallons of stormwater per year, saving $10,000 annually in stormwater charges, as well as helping to alleviate the urban heat island effect.

Environmental Benefits

In many parts of the country, urban runoff is the single greatest source of water pollution. In addition to dirt and debris, urban runoff can include such toxic components as oil and heavy metals like lead and mercury, in addition to other pollutants that might find their way onto roads and rooftops. These pollutants have a negative effect on drinking water supplies, recreation, and wildlife. By taking steps to minimize urban runoff, your organization can help reduce these negative impacts.

Additional Resources

NRDC-From Rooftops to Rivers: Green Strategies for Controlling Stormwater and CSO
NRDC – Strategies to Control Stormwater Runoff
EPA – Urban Runoff Fact Sheet
EPA: Bioretention (Rain Gardens) Fact Sheet
City of Santa Monica – Urban Runoff
Links to several reports on stormwater runoff
Pervious Pavement information
Stormwater Manager’s Resource Center