First Flush

Did you know that the first significant rainfall of the year is called a “first flush”?

During this first rainfall, water washes significant levels of pollution off of street surfaces, driveways and curbs straight into storm drains that empty into local rivers, creeks and streams. Our job is to learn which urban pollutants are being washed into drains and polluting our environment. We then use that information to address the most significant pollutants and teach individuals what each of us can do to protect our local waterways.

And we need your help! You can volunteer for First Flush, learn how to conduct field measurements such as water temperature, conductivity, pH and transparency. You’ll also learn how to collect water samples that are sent to aWater-Quality professional lab and analyzed for non-point source pollution including nutrients, metals, bacteria, hardness and total suspended solids.

First Flush results illustrate the impact of non-point source pollution generated through our daily interactions in the environment – high metal concentrations can be attributed to car brake linings, high nutrient concentrations can be linked to fertilizers, and high bacteria concentrations are generated by failing sewer and septic lines, wildlife and pet waste.

First Flush Volunteer Sign Up