Mitigating Stormwater Pollutants in the Junction Creek Watershed
The Junction Creek Stewardship Committee (JCSC) is beginning a multi-year community action-based project titled “Taking action to mitigate stormwater pollutants in urban waterways”, undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada. The project will raise awareness and reduce stormwater contaminants from entering streams and lakes in the Junction Creek watershed.
Read more in our Stormwater project press release.
What is stormwater?
Rainwater and snow melt which flows from streets, parking lots and other surfaces is collectively known as stormwater. Impermeable surfaces in urban environments such as asphalt and concrete do not allow stormwater to be absorbed and naturally filtered by soil, and instead flows across the surface collecting pollutants along the way before entering storm drains. Stormwater which is not absorbed by plants and soil is known as stormwater runoff.
Many stormwater systems discharge directly into local waterways without being treated. This means that the contaminants carried in polluted stormwater can enter Junction Creek and other local waterways through storm drains. Stormwater pollutants include oil, pesticides, chemicals, bacteria, litter, road salt and sand.
Learn about the City of Greater Sudbury’s stormwater services.
Impacts of Polluted Stormwater
Junction Creek flows into the Vermilion River and Spanish River, then drains into Lake Huron. This means pollutants that enter the Junction Creek watershed also impact communities downstream and the Lake Huron watershed. Pollutants that enter local waterways from stormwater have negative impacts on both the environment and community. The pollutants degrade water quality and habitat for aquatic life, altering the nutrient and dissolved oxygen levels, plant growth, and food chain.
What the JCSC is doing to mitigate stormwater pollutants
The “Taking action to mitigate stormwater pollutants in urban waterways” project will install catch basin insert filters in publicly accessible parking lots to capture and remove stormwater contaminates, and deliver stewardship programs and outreach to engage youth, community members and stakeholders in local stormwater quality issues and green infrastructure solutions. The JCSC will collaborate with local water stewardship groups, schools, libraries, churches and shopping centres to install easy-to-use catch basin insert filters that can be maintained by property management or the community, with guidance from the JCSC team.
The goal of the project is to engage Greater Sudbury in community-based action by providing the knowledge and training for volunteers and/or property management staff to install, monitor, and manage inserts between May and November each year. In addition, project activities include youth-oriented water stewardship programs to engage youth in local freshwater health and stormwater pollution, public workshops and site tours with guest speakers and local experts, and educational resources and outreach material. As a result, we will collectively contribute to improving water quality in local streams, lakes and rivers in the Junction Creek watershed.
LittaTrap catch basin filter (left), fabric catch basin filter insert (right)
During the fall 2022, we tested two types of filters in 8 catch basins in parking lots in the South End of Sudbury. In only 3-weeks, these measures successfully captured a total of 31 kg of garbage, sand and debris. Cigarette butts and plastic were the most common items of litter captured in the catch basin filters.
The project will be expanded in 2023 to empower the community in long-term water stewardship while reducing harmful substances from entering local streams and lakes. We invite community partners to get involved and help make a positive impact!