What's the point?

A stream within a watershed is impaired.  So,what's the point?

It is hard to pinpoint the origin of  non point source pollution, but not for point source. A point source pollutant comes from a single source such as a pipe that can be traced to its origin (i.e. industry or wastewater discharge). Point sources are controlled and permitted and under regulatory authority of the Ohio EPA. Non point sources pose a bigger threat to the environment because they cannot be traced to a single place of origin. Non point sources include, but are not limited to, sediment, fertilizers, bacteria, oils/grease, and trash.

Are you water wise?

There are three water wise processes everyone needs to be aware of in their watershed. These three processes answer the following three questions:
  • Where does my drinking water come from?
  • Where does wastewater go? and 
  • Where does stormwater go when it rains?

Drinking water can come from one of two sources: surface water source (river, lake) or ground water (private residential well, underground aquifer). Depending on where you live in Mahoning County, your drinking water is either from a private residential well or from one of the following surface water sources: Meander Reservoir, Evans Lake, or Lake Hamilton. Raw surface water is taken in and treated by either Meander Water (Meander Reservoir) or Aqua Ohio (Evans Lake, Lake Hamilton) at their respective treatment plants. The U.S. EPA has an interactive diagram illustrating the water treatment process. Click here to view it.

Wastewater is used water that contains human waste, food particles, oils, soaps, and chemicals flushed from sinks, bathtubs/showers, toilets, dishwashers, and washing machines. The used water flows down various drains to the local wastewater treatment plant where it undergoes a series of cleansing techniques before being discharged into a nearby receiving stream. The diagram was provided by the Mahoning County Sanitary Engineers Office and illustrates the treatment process for our area.

Stormwater is the end result of the water cycle.  It begins during the evaporation stage where surface water heats and vaporizes into tiny droplets if water.  As the warm vapor rises, it forms clouds. The water vapor in the clouds then cools and falls back down to the ground in the form of precipitation (snow, sleet, hail, rain).  The water, if not absorbed by the ground, runs off of impervious surfaces (driveways, roads, parking lots, roof tops) collecting chemicals (oil, grease, fertilizers) and/or bacteria (pet waste, manure, waterfowl waste), and flows into a nearby storm drain. Storm drains deliver the water, untreated, right back into a surface water such as a nearby stream or lake where the cycle begins again. Check out this interactive water cycle diagram to see how our Earth moves water!