What is Stormwater?

Stormwater is rain that falls on roofs or paved areas like driveways, roads and footpaths. This water is carried away by a system of stormwater pipes and drains. It eventually ends up in our groundwater, lakes, ponds, and the ocean. Stormwater carries a number of pollutants that can negatively impact water quality and aquatic life.

Here on Cape Cod, towns are working together to help control pollution from stormwater in a number of ways. The Groundwater Guardian team is helping with education and outreach to citizens and municipal officials through the efforts of PROJECT STORM.

Ultimately, the Groundwater Guardian Team, with help from citizens like you, will educate all residents on Cape Cod in the importance of stopping stormwater pollution to make our water bodies here on Cape Cod cleaner and safer to use.

Why is Stormwater Pollution an Important Cape Cod Issue?

Here on Cape Cod, our waterways are especially important to our fisheries, our tourism, and even our way of life, so it is vital to minimize stormwater pollution as much as possible.  It is increasingly important for stormwater pollution to be controlled as the populations on Cape Cod increase and more contaminants are leaked into our waterbodies.

The Cape Cod terrain is comprised of predominatley sand and water, filling our peninsula with beautiful lakes and beaches, but rendering it vulnerable to pollution at the same time.  The sandy soils of Cape Cod allow water to easily drain into our groundwater below. Our soils also readily transport pollutants down into our groundwater where it can harm our drinking water as well as surface water bodies.

This specific terrain also demands special needs when it comes to the issue of stormwater.  As stormwater travels over the land, it picks up all kinds of chemicals and materials that are not naturally found in our waterways.  Some are toxic even in small amounts. Others, such as nutrients, are not poisonous but may be produced in such great quantities that nature can’t cope with them.  This results in pollution of our waterways that can kill plants and animals that live in the water.  Pollution of our waterways can also mean we can’t boat, swim, or fish because it is unpleasant, or even unsafe.

© 2011 Cape Cod Groundwater Guardians

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Cape Cod Groundwater Guardian Team
PO Box 226 Barnstable, MA 02630
508-362-3828 | FAX: 508-362-3136
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