Natural Resources, School of


Date of this Version



University of Nebraska Extension Circular EC701 (2011)


© 2011, The Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska on behalf of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension. All rights reserved.


Stormwater runoff is the result of precipitation that does not infiltrate into the soil. Rather, it flows over land areas or through storm drains to streams, rivers, and lakes. This water collects pollutants as it moves over streets, parking lots, driveways, and other surfaces. Typically, stormwater runoff is untreated before being discharged to surface water. The quantity and quality of stormwater runoff is directly related to land use; as more urban development occurs — especially impervious surfaces — greater amounts of water and contaminants are generated. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), highly urbanized areas generate over five times more runoff than naturally vegetated areas. There is a growing need for stormwater management at all levels — homeowner, local, state, and national. The following terms are commonlyused to describe stormwater management practices, strategies, and regulations.