Pollution Sources

Metals such as lead, zinc, mercury, copper, and cadmium in water, can be toxic to humans, aquatic life and other animals that drink the water. Metals come from vehicle exhaust, weathered paint, metal plating, tires and motor oil.

Nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus result in excessive plant growth that clogs waterways, blocks sunlight, and reduces oxygen available to fish and other aquatic life. Some sources of nutrients are fertilizer, excrement, and detergents.

Oil & Grease
Petroleum products (gasoline, oil, and grease) may be toxic to aquatic life, even in small amounts. Oil and grease in storm drains can generally be traced to automotive leaks and spills or improper disposal of used oil and automotive products into storm drains.

The City of Wheat Ridge provides resources for a free place to dispose of motor oil for recycling. Please contact the Public Works Department at (303) 205-7600 for additional information.

Oxygen Demanding Substances
The biochemical breakdown of organic materials (leaves, excrement and street litter) washed into waterways decreases levels of dissolved oxygen in water. Organisms that live in all waterways consume organic materials and in doing so utilize oxygen. Too much organic material can cause a reduction of dissolved oxygen to levels that will not support desired aquatic life.