What are hydrocarbons?
Are organic compounds that are made up of carbon-hydrogen bonds
Have a wide variety of structures and functions, some of which can be considered pollutants of concern
Can be petroleum hydrocarbon pollutants such as gasoline, oils, and grease
Can be Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) which are formed by burning coal, gasoline and fuel oil
Why should I care?
Some hydrocarbon pollutants, such as PAHs, can result in negative health impacts to humans and wildlife.
How do hydrocarbon pollutants enter our lakes and streams?
Potential sources for hydrocarbon pollutants include:
Vehicle use and maintenance
Disposal of used oil and other fluids on the ground
Spills of oil or gasoline from vehicles
Runoff from residential car washing
Leaching from coal-tar sealants used on paved roads and parking lots
Most petroleum hydrocarbon pollutants are transported by stormwater runoff, which washes the contaminants from roads, driveways, and parking lots into the nearest storm drain or stream. However, some of these pollutants also enter the water via motorized watercraft.
What can I do to help?
Reduce your vehicle use in the watershed and carpool, take the bus, or ride your bike!
When your car is dirty, take your car to a commercial car wash
Collect any vehicle fluid spills and dispose of them properly
Follow boat maintenance tips in Boatnotes