Finally, after an almost month-long drought in West Michigan it’s raining! As the sprinkles quench the thirsty ground and puddle up, take a moment to think about where those puddles and all of that rain water run off will end up. As the rain flows, so will a giant surge of polluted water run into the Grand River and other water resources.
While grass dried up and dust piled up along the streets, the pollution built up, as well. Pesticides, trash and other contaminates that have built up in our yards and streets will be washed directly down to the Grand River by rainwater run off in only 15 minutes, and from there, flow into Lake Michigan. This water pollution, called non-point source pollution, is the largest cause of water pollution in Michigan.
The West Michigan Environmental Action Council welcomes the rain but wants the public to be aware of the effects caused by such a long drought when Grand Rapids lacks an up-to-date stormwater management system. On-site water management through practices such as rain gardens, rain barrels, green canopies and green roofs help ensure that all of the built up pollution is not rushed into our valuable water resources. Instead, rainwater is absorbed, captured and filtered naturally rather than rushing down streets and carrying all of the debris and chemicals on the roads and lawns into the water.
Rain or shine, stormwater management is crucial issue for Grand Rapids and West Michigan.