Educational Materials: Toxics

Toxics can include everything from soap and paint to metals, oil, and other automotive fluids. The resources below address the major sources of toxics in stormwater.

Cleaning supplies, detergents, and soaps (including those used for cars) contain chemicals that can be toxic to our environment.

DID YOU KNOW? Mercury is a toxic metal frequently found in stormwater runoff. Although most mercury comes from atmospheric deposition (the transfer of gases and particles from the atmosphere to our environment), keeping any mercury source from entering our waters is important. The sale of mercury thermostats is now prohibited in Rhode Island, but older thermostats still exist. Mercury thermostats must be recycled, as it is illegal to dispose of them with solid waste.


Thermostat Recycling(external website)

Household Chemicals(page within Stormwater Solutions)

Auto Care(page within Stormwater Solutions)

Wash Your Car the Right Way(external brochure)

Sediment is a major source of pollution for local waters, and most sediment comes from the accelerated erosion caused by our land use practices. As sediment is transported into local water bodies, it carries other pollutants with it. The pollutants from construction activities can include toxics such as metals, petroleum hyrdocarbons, and plasticizers.

DID YOU KNOW? Some toxic chemicals that wind up in our waters are not attached to sediment. Concrete washout is a significant pollutant from construction sites. And lead paint chips are often a pollutant from work done to restore or repair bridges. Pollution prevention and good housekeeping measures can work to minimize the effects of these pollutants.


Soil Erosion and Sediment Control(page within Stormwater Solutions)

DEM Soil Erosion and Sediment Control(external website)

What is Sediment Pollution(external website)

Keep Your Soil At Home(external website)

Many herbicides and pesticides contain chemicals that are known to be toxic. Glyphosate (Roundup) is a common chemical used to control weeds, and recent scientific studies have highlighted the concern over its widespread use. When those chemicals are applied to lawns, plants, and other natural areas, rain water washes any residue to the nearest storm drain or water body.


Yard Care(page within RI Stormwater Solutions)

Turf Grass Madness(external website)

Minimizing Pollution and Maximizing the Effectiveness of Lawn Fertilizer(external website)