Most Floridians know how lucky they are to live in the Sunshine State. People flock here for the white sand beaches and stunning vistas, and we get to enjoy it all year long. But did you know that storms are what make these beautiful scenes possible?
While nearly everyone loves a clear, sunny day, storms give our flora the ability to grow into towering trees and gorgeous flowers. You know what happens to the absorbed water in these forested areas, but you may have wondered what happens to all that storm water when it falls along streets that have no plants or lakes nearby.
In this blog, we will explain how Florida storm water is recycled and how what goes down storm drains ends up in our waterways.
The Water Cycle
Before we discuss how storm water is recycled, let’s review the general water lifecycle. Since the cycle is a continuous loop, it doesn’t have a clear starting point, but we’ll begin with the ocean since we have already mentioned Florida’s ocean views. When the sun beats down on the ocean, water evaporates into the air and travels to the atmosphere.
Once vaporous cloud particles grow heavy, they fall to the earth in the form of rain. Once the rain hits land, plants and waterways absorb most of it. However, in areas with impenetrable surfaces like roads, roofs, and sidewalks, rain becomes storm water runoff.
Without storm drains, storm water runoff could cause flash floods. This drainage system can vary from city-wide structures to a residential dry well, but most water enters systems via street gutters. You’ll notice street gutters on road curbs and sidewalks as the metal-slated rectangles. They are so common because each gutter must take in storm water and transport it to the nearest waterway to avoid flooding.
Storm drainage systems are separate from wastewater systems that drain dirty water from your home. That water flows through underground pipes to your local wastewater treatment plant. There, water undergoes rigorous cleaning before it can re-enter the environment.
While storm drains help protect our cities from floods, they do not treat the removed water. Runoff simply journeys through the drains and enters streams, ponds, oceans, lakes, and reservoirs untreated —but it’s not just water that enters these water supplies. As storm water flows over nonporous areas, it picks up pollutants like motor oil, trash, and various chemicals.
Storm Water Solution
In Florida, the first line of defense against these pollutants is street sweeping. USA Services vacuums streets before storm water has a chance to transport debris and chemicals into our water supply. Street Sweeping is a FDEP preventative maintenance service that protects our waterways by moving pollutants at the source. This service is a key component in keeping our drinking water supply clean—if you want to know more, give us a call today.