WHAT IS STORMWATER? 

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the primary cause of water quality problems in the United States today is “nonpoint source pollution.” Nonpoint source pollution is runoff from rainfall, snowmelt, or irrigation that picks up soil and other contaminants as it runs over land before ending up in surface water bodies, in underground rivers, and in aquifers. Because of our karst landscape, in Bowling Green, stormwater runoff often seeps underground where it flows very quickly through cave streams until it reappears as springs. This runoff can have many negative impacts on plants, animals, and humans.

  • Sediment can cloud the water and make it difficult or impossible for aquatic plants to grow. Sediment can also destroy aquatic habitats. 

  • Excess nutrients can cause algae blooms. When algae die, they sink to the bottom of the water body and decompose in a process that removes oxygen from the water. Fish and other aquatic organisms can’t live in water with low dissolved oxygen levels.

  • Bacteria and other pathogens can wash into swimming areas and create health hazards. Trash washed in waterbodies can choke, suffocate, or disable aquatic life such as ducks, fish, turtles, and birds.

  • Household hazardous wastes like insecticides, pesticides, paint, motor oil, solvents, and other auto fluids can poison aquatic and human life. 

  • Polluted stormwater often affects drinking water resources. This can affect human health and increase drinking water treatment costs. Barren River is the source of Bowling Green’s drinking water. The River is fed by stormwater runoff flowing along the surface and water that flows through the underground karst rivers before it resurfaces at springs along the River’s banks.
     

  • Injection wells are used in Bowling Green and other karst areas to prevent surface flooding. Injection wells are direct connections to the cracks in the underground bedrock. Thus, anything that makes its way into an injection well, can be a source of pollution for groundwater and surface water supplies.

Injection Well

UnderBGKY.org

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