Stormwater Runoff

Stormwater runoff begins as rain and carries pollutants from land surfaces on its way to water bodies, such as streams, lakes, and rivers.

What is stormwater runoff?

Stormwater runoff begins as rain, falling onto the ground, roof tops, and other land surfaces. As it accumulates and begins to “runoff”, it collects pollutants from building and land surfaces on its way to water bodies, such as rivers, lakes and streams. The City of Covington has a responsibility to ensure this runoff is properly addressed through our Stormwater Management Program.



What are the impacts of stormwater runoff when left unmanaged?
Flooding occurs when an excessive volume of runoff is generated. This is a result of the amount of impervious land surfaces and the rate at which runoff is delivered. Flooding accounts for most of the nation's disaster declarations. Floods are one of the most deadly types of weather conditions and claim hundreds of lives each year. They also cause more damage to property and infrastructure than any other weather hazard. Property damage estimates range into the billions yearly.


The amount of pollutants entering water bodies is increased by untreated runoff. Pollutants can damage the quality of a lake or stream, adversely impacting the aquatic habitat of many insects and animals. The major sources of water pollution are physical, biological, and chemical and fall under three categories: agricultural, industrial, and municipal. Water pollutants commonly consist of petroleum products, hazardous wastes, organic matter, trace metals, heat, and herbicides and pesticides.



What are the types of pollution?

Point Source
Point source pollution is generated from pollutants that enter a body of water directly from a specific source, usually a pipe. These are generally discharged as a result of agricultural, industrial or municipal activities. The point sources of pollution may typically include:

  • Pipe discharges from an industrial or municipal plant

  • Sewage system overflows and bypasses

  • Chemical spills from oil and gas companies

  • Seepage from underground storage tanks

  • Illegal discharges into storm sewers and drains

Non-Point Source

Non-point source pollution is generated from a variety of sources. The pollutants are indirectly deposited. As runoff travels it picks up and carries man made and natural pollutants, transferring them into the various water sources. 


What are some benefits of stormwater management?

  • ​Sediments from construction sites

  • Stream bank erosion

  • Animal wastes

  • Hazardous wastes from landfills

  • Oil, grease and chemical spills

  • Herbicides, fertilizers and insecticides

  • Trash, litter and other debris

For questions and concerns related to stormwater runoff, or your stormwater fees, please contact the City of Covington Engineering Department at: or by calling 770-385-2033.