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NEMO Nevada (Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials)

NEMO Photo Gallery

What Are Impervious Surfaces?

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Photo by
Impervious surfaces include any surface, paved or compacted, that does not allow infiltration of water.
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Photo by duluthstreams.org
Water flows over the surface of the compacted soil or pavement, picking up pollutants as it moves. The contaminated water will enter a natural drainage, a man-made drainage, or a storm drain. In all three cases, the water ends up in a water body with no treatment for pollutants.
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Photo by S. Donaldson
Many people think of parking lots when they think of impervious surfaces.
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Photo by NRCS
Impervious surfaces also include streets, sidewalks, roofs, driveways, and parking lots.
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Photo by NRCS
Most of the land in this photo could be considered to be impervious surface. Impervious cover ranges from 20% or less on single family large-lot (1-acre +) properties, to 85% or more in commercial sites.