Regulations related to stormwater runoff can result in expensive fines for violators. Here's what insurance pros need to know. (Photo: Shutterstock/jessicakirsh)

Stormwater discharge, also known as stormwater runoff, has gradually become a much bigger problem in the United States than it has been in the past.

This is primarily due to the fact that as more and more land is developed, particularly in urban areas, the hydrology (or way that water flows) changes. With this change comes a rise in the number of areas where water from rain or melting snow cannot infiltrate into the ground. This leads to increases in the volume of stormwater runoff which carries with it pollutants such as fertilizers, pesticides, sediments containing pollutants from other sources, oils, and septic tank overflows, among others. In addition, highways, roads, and parking lots contribute stormwater discharges that contain combustion products from gasoline and heavy metals.

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