Your Green Life: "Risky Run-Off"

By KBJR News 1

August 4, 2010 Updated Aug 4, 2010 at 3:16 PM CDT

Summer in the Northland is no stranger to wet and stormy weather.
A lot of rain this season has helped water levels return to normal, and farmers produce a good crop.

But, the storm water can also depreciate the water quality as meteorologist Shannon Murphy explains in, "Your Green Life."

Lake Superior is the largest and the cleanest of the great lakes, and holds 10 percent of the earth's fresh water supply.
But to keep it the cleanest, efforts must be made along the shoreline.
One of the simplest ways we can help is by keeping our streets clean, so storm water doesn't carry the mess into our water supply.

"Some of the biggest things are grass clippings when you are mowing your lawn, try to keep the outlet going away from the street. If you wash your car, try to do it on your lawn so that soap and the phosphorus doesn't drain down your driveway and into the streets and into the storm sewers. Pick up your dog poop if it is near a street or stream, rake your leaves, sweep up your sand."

When it rains water runs down Duluth's hillside taking with it the pollutants from our streets, flowing into catch basins found along the roadsides.

The only treatment this water gets is from catch basin gratings which only filter out large debris.

The water then follows pipes into streams and ditches and eventually...Lake Superior...where it can change the delicate eco–system.

"It increases algae blooms and weeds in the lakes and streams."

"It lowers the oxygen, makes it harder for the trout to live, and it's not good for the water quality."

Treating the storm water would be extremely expensive, so the best thing we can is reduce the pollution we're putting on our streets.
In Duluth, meteorologist Shannon Murphy, the Northland's NewsCenter.

Duluth's has a separate system to treat sanitary sewer water.
That's done through the Western Lake Superior Sanitary District.