The quality of water in the Bayou Vermilion is greatly affected by the runoff of water from a range of sources. The volume of water from these runoff sources can be highly polluted with storm water debris. The debris makeup is only obvious for those items which are floating on the surface. The items that sink to the bottom are not visible but just as much a problem for our waterway.


Stormwater runoff occurs when rain water flows over the ground. Impervious surfaces like driveways, sidewalks, parking lots and streets prevent storm water from naturally soaking into the ground. Stormwater can pick up debris, chemicals, dirt, and other pollutants and flow into a storm water system leading directly to a local waterway and eventually ending up in the Bayou Vermilion.

The runoff can contain something as simple as dirt. Muddy water containing silt from construction sites creates a negative impact on the quality of water. The sediment clouds the water making it difficult or impossible for aquatic plants to grow. Sediment can also destroy aquatic habitats. Excess fertilizer and nutrients from detergents and animal waste can cause algae to bloom. When the algae die they sink to the bottom and decompose in a process that removes oxygen from the water. Fish and other aquatic organisms cannot live in water with low oxygen levels.

One of the goals of the Bayou Vermilion District is to elevate the awareness with the public to inform and educate on the tremendous negative impact any sort of debris can have on the overall water quality of the bayou. The team of professionals at the Bayou Vermilion District work hard at removing debris and attempt to identify sources of pollution entering the Bayou Vermilion. Individuals or companies polluting the bayou can face stiff civil and potentially criminal charges if found to be responsible for a pollution source.

The Lafayette Consolidated Government has a litter law whereby citizens can report incidents of littering that they witness. Witnesses need to write down details at the time of the littering incident, which are vitally important if the person littering is to receive a ticket.

The Lafayette Parish litter hotline is 337-291-7000. Please help us by reporting violators it helps to improve the water quality of our Bayou Vermilion.