Stormwater is the runoff generated from rain and snowmelt events that flow over impervious surfaces such as streets, parking lots, buildings, or any surface where the water does not soak into the ground. The runoff collects many pollutants from these surfaces as it travels to the storm drain, such as litter, chemicals, oils, landscape debris, sediment, etc. The polluted water is then carried into the storm drains that flow directly into our local bodies of water.

A common misconception is that stormwater and sewer systems are one in the same and both are treated before entering our local waters. However, these systems are separate. It is only sewer systems that are treated at a waste water treatment plant before entering our rivers, lakes, streams and coastal waters.

Urbanization plays a major role in why our stormwater runoff is in danger of harboring so many pollutants. Accommodation to population growth and development lead to more impervious surfaces and an increase in pollutants. This combination changes the volume and rate of runoff, as well as water quality, resulting in many negative effects on our local waters and the inhabitants that depend on them.

Best Management Practices

The University of Memphis is dedicated to protecting our local bodies of water and providing a safe and sustainable habitat. As our campus continues to progress, increasing in land use and in population, we have taken best management practices as a way to balance growth and sustainability.

Click here to see more on our best management practices. (coming soon)