As Stoney Creek watershed becomes more urbanized, natural vegetation is removed around the creek and paved surface areas increase. In particular, there is less ground surface able to absorb pecipitation and runoff is increased during storms. Thus the quality of water is often altered by sediments, nutrients, and contaminants running off of nearby construction sites, industry and housing developments.
Chemicals such as road salt, oil and grit from roads, sediments from land, and nutrients from fertilizers can all run into the creek and decrease water quality. In addition, homeowners in the area may release chemical toxins directly into the creek with or without the knowledge that they are poisonous and reduce water quality.
Since 1998, SCEC has being monitoring water quality to help identify sources of stream pollution, as well as evaluate changes in water quality over time. While it may only be related to the drier weather conditions, salt contamination, as measured by Specific Conductivity, from SFU’s old roadsalt storage area is increasing. The two graphs below show results from Salt Creek, the red dot on the index map, and from below the confluence with Tributary 2, the orange dot. The conductivity levels decrease down the mountain as the salt is diluted with cleaner water.