5 Ways Heavy Metals and Chemicals can Contaminate Stormwater Runoff


As rainwater travels down roofs and roads, stormwater runoff mixes with pollutants found on artificial surfaces before flowing into basins, rivers, and lakes. Capable of contaminating drinking water, killing marine life, and destroying natural habitats, stormwater runoff needs to be dealt with properly. With pollution problems on the rise, now is the optimal time for property owners and corporations to prevent pollution through responsible stormwater management. Learn about common sources of contamination below. 

5 Things That Can Pollute Stormwater Runoff

1. Auto Emissions

Car emissions are one of the most common causes of stormwater runoff contamination. For instance, when a leaking car discharges oil onto the street, this fluid can seep into soil or get washed down storm drains. As a result, auto emissions can introduce petrol, diesel, nitrogen, and other toxins into water sources.

2. Rooftop Runoff

When it rains, precipitation flows off of roofs and onto the ground. As water drips down these surfaces, it mingles with aluminum, alloys, and other rooftop sediments. Hazards occur when this tainted stormwater runoff affects the soil and surrounding vegetation.  

3. Septic Systems

When septic systems are not routinely pumped, sewage can build up inside of their pipes. Over time, the pressure caused by this congestion can force waste out of the plumbing and into the streets. This sewage carries bacteria that can seep into nearby bodies of water.

4. Pesticides

Stormwater runoff can also carry herbicides, fertilizers, and pesticides. Although these chemicals are safe for field applications, if they are introduced into new environments by rainwater, they can cause issues for vegetation and animal life. 

5. Waste Disposal

The improper disposal of waste can contaminate stormwater. Rather than recycling, some construction company trucks will discard wood, metals, and other materials down storm drains. Consequently, stormwater runoff can carry trash and debris directly into the ocean.

With over 25 years of experience, CleanWay Environmental Partners is dedicated to providing clients with affordable stormwater runoff solutions. Located in Portland, OR, our skilled staff is committed to serving customers nationwide with first-rate catch basin filters, downspout filtration units, reliable reverse osmosis systems, premium leachate treatments, and heavy metals extraction services. Call (800) 723-1373 to request a quote and to learn more about how we can help you comply with environmental regulations. 

How Heavy Metals Extraction Solutions Eliminate Zinc From Stormwater

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State and local regulatory agencies require industrial facilities to control the runoff of harmful pollutants from their sites, including lead, mercury, and zinc. While eliminating sources of contamination is ideal, this can be nearly impossible on some industrial sites, which is why stormwater runoff filtration is so important. CleanWay Environmental Partners in Portland, OR, specializes in effective heavy metal extraction products proven to eliminate zinc, which can be especially difficult to remove

Why Zinc Is Difficult to Eliminate

Unlike mercury and other heavy metals, zinc can originate from a wide variety of sources. Galvanized metal coatings on metal roofs and fences, for example, will deteriorate over time, releasing dissolved zinc into stormwater runoff. Forklift tires and evaporated motor oil are also common sources of zinc, so your facility may be exceeding environmental regulations even if you don’t use heavy metals in your manufacturing processes. The number of potential sources makes zinc especially difficult to contain, so heavy metal extraction at the drainage system entry point is often the best approach.

How CleanWay Environmental Partners Can Help

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As industry leaders in advanced stormwater filtration systems, CleanWay Environmental Partners provides a variety of innovative options designed to trap zinc. MetalZorb is a sponge medium that captures zinc and other metals without impeding the flow of water or requiring a backflow system. When inserted into a filtration insert, MetalZorb offers a low-maintenance option to help your commercial facility maintain regulatory compliance while protecting your local water supply from heavy metal contamination.

With over 25 years of experience and a reputation for excellence, CleanWay Environmental Partners has the expertise and cutting-edge materials to create efficient, effective stormwater treatment solutions designed to meet your needs. We understand that each facility faces different heavy metal extraction challenges, and we are committed to helping you overcome them.

How CleanWay Helps Manage Stormwater Runoff


Federal guidelines require municipal governments and commercial facilities to protect local water supplies by properly disposing of pollutants and managing stormwater runoff. Without high-quality equipment and careful design, rainwater can overwhelm drainage systems, pushing heavy metals, oils, and other contaminants into rivers, streams, and other water sources. For over 25 years, CleanWay Environmental Partners has helped clients throughout Oregon manage their stormwater runoff and protect sensitive ecosystems. Below, we share how. 

How CleanWay Environmental Partners Meets Stormwater Regulations

While stormwater overflow cannot always be prevented, it can be cleaned of pollutants with advanced filters. Cleanway produces cutting-edge adaptive filtration systems custom-designed to fit any size or shape of catch basin, designed to meet all state and federal regulations and suited for use in a variety of applications. Our filtration systems also feature scalable options, meeting the needs of even large municipalities and industrial sites. Our stormwater treatment experts can also produce filters from a variety of media, allowing them to meet your site-specific needs.

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The key to CleanWay Environmental Partners’ success is our dedication to working closely with each of our clients. No industry faces the same challenges in meeting runoff regulations. Whether your operation is dealing with dissolved heavy metals, or you’re working to mitigate the presence of other contaminants, our stormwater team will develop customized solutions to meet your water quality goals.

CleanWay Environmental Partners has been helping clients throughout Oregon and across the nation stay within National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) standards for nearly three decades. Each of our products is custom-designed to meet your individual needs and individually treated to prevent corrosion and rust. Call (800) 723-1373 to speak to an experienced stormwater consultant, and follow our Facebook or Twitter for more news and updates.

How MetalZorb Combats Heavy Metal Contamination

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The Dangers of Heavy Metal Contamination

When water is contaminated with heavy metals, it becomes a danger to both the environment and human health. It’s important to take steps to ensure the safety of your company’s runoff water so that you meet environmental code. With MetalZorb, an absorbent filtration medium, heavy metals in runoff water are targeted and removed. CleanWay Environmental Partners, Inc. of Portland, OR offers filtration products that meet EPA and NPDES regulations for removing pollutants from urban and industrial stormwater. Below, our experts share some things you should know about controlling heavy metals. 

What Are Heavy Metals?

Heavy metals are a common byproduct of many industrial activities. While some metals are necessary for a healthy life, such as iron and zinc, others can be dangerous, particularly if someone is frequently exposed to them. Dangerous heavy metals include mercury, arsenic, cadmium, beryllium, lead, and hexavalent chromium. Lesser exposure for civilians can occur through water, food, and air. Industries that use or produce these metals are more likely to create risk through stormwater runoff.

Stormwater pollution occurs when debris, chemicals, sediment or other pollutants from urban areas and construction sites get washed into storm drains and flows directly into water bodies. Uncontrolled stormwater discharges containing heavy metals from factories can pose significant threats to public health and the environment.

Why Are Heavy Metals Dangerous?

Long-term exposure to low levels of heavy metals can occur in industrial workplaces. This exposure sometimes leads to chronic heavy metal poisoning, which is difficult to treat when identified. Symptoms such as headaches, muscle, and joint pains, and weakness can occur. Too much contact with heavy metals can be detrimental to human health, and in some cases lead to death.

Additionally, The Clean Water Act requires that industrial facilities, construction sites, and municipal separate storm sewer systems have measures in place to prevent stormwater from being discharged with heavy metals into nearby waterways. Violation of EPA regulations can lead to very costly legal fees and fines.


90% Reduction of Heavy Metals in 20 Seconds

How Does MetalZorb Help?

MetalZorb is designed for heavy metals extraction. It’s a light, high capacity sponge that absorbs and traps metallic ions from flowing water. MetalZorb is placed in a filter vessel or filtration insert, and can be customized to treat known metals contaminating runoff water from a specific facility. In just 20 seconds, the heavy metal content of any water source can be reduced by 90%.

CleanWay Environmental Partners, Inc. has been dedicated to bringing company’s runoff water up to code for over 25 years. We offer a wide variety of stormwater filtration products unique to your company’s needs, from catch basin filtration inserts for your storm drain to absorption booms for clean waterways. For more information, call us at (800) 723-1373 or email info@cleanwayusa.com. To view our full range of products, visit our website.