Turbidity should be removed from stormwater because its presence in drinking water sources has negative effects on humans and the environment.
The effects of high turbidity levels in water ingested by humans often mean higher levels of disease-causing microorganisms such as viruses, parasites and some bacteria, which can cause symptoms such as nausea, cramps, diarrhea, and associated headaches.[i]
Turbidity can also make streams less aesthetically enjoyable and can have negative impacts on plants and wildlife. Turbidity reduces visibility and absorbs light, which can increase stream temperatures and reduce photosynthesis.[ii] Resulting negative impacts of turbidity on plant and wildlife include:
- interference with aquatic plant photosynthesis, reducing the amount of food, habitat and dissolved oxygen available for other species;[iii]
- fine particles clogging and abrading fish and insect gills and tissue and interference with egg and larval development;[iv] and
- pollutants such as pesticides and PCBs adhering to the surfaces of particulates and being transported through stormwater into aquatic environments.[v]