- Be sure to recycle or properly dispose of household products that contain chemicals, such as insecticides, pesticides, paint, solvents, and used motor oil and other auto fluids. Don't pour them onto the ground or into storm drains.
Excess fertilizers and pesticides applied to lawns and gardens wash off and pollute streams. In addition, yard clippings and leaves can wash into storm drains and contribute unwanted nutrients and organic matter to streams. Some helpful tips include:
- Don't overwater your lawn. Consider using a soaker hose instead of a sprinkler.
- Use pesticides and fertilizers sparingly. When use is necessary, use these chemicals in the recommended amounts. Use organic mulch or safer pest control methods whenever possible.
- Compost or mulch yard waste. Don't leave it in the street or sweep it into storm drains or streams.
- Cover piles of dirt or mulch being used in landscaping projects.
Leaking and poorly maintained septic systems release nutrients and pathogens (bacteria and viruses) that can be picked up by stormwater and discharged into nearby water bodies. Pathogens can cause public health problems and environmental concerns. Helpful tips include:
- Don't dispose of household hazardous waste in sinks or toilets.
- Inspect your system every 3 years and pump your tank as necessary (every 3 to 5 years).
Washing your car and degreasing auto parts at home can send detergents and other contaminants through the storm sewer system. Dumping automotive fluids into storm drains has the same result as dumping the materials directly into a water body. Some helpful tips include:
- Repair leaks and dispose of used auto fluids and batteries at designated drop-off or recycling locations.
- Use a commercial car wash that treats or recycles its waste water, or wash your car on your yard so the water infiltrates into the ground.
Pet waste can be a major source of bacteria and excess nutrients in local waters.
When walking your pet, remember to pick up the waste and dispose of it properly. Flushing pet waste is the best disposal method. Leaving pet waste on the ground increases public health risks by allowing harmful bacteria and nutrients to wash into the storm drain and eventually into local waterbodies.
- Permeable Pavement - Traditional concrete and asphalt don't allow water to soak into the ground. Instead these surfaces rely on storm drains to divert unwanted water. Permeable pavement systems allow rain and snow melt to soak through, decreasing stormwater runoff.
- Rain Barrels - You can collect rainwater from rooftops in mosquito-proof containers. The water can be used later on lawn or garden areas.
- Rain Gardens and Grassy Swales - Specially designed areas planted with native plants can provide natural places for rainwater to collect and soak into the ground. Rain from rooftop areas or paved areas can be diverted into these areas rather than into storm drains.
- Vegetated Filter Strips - Filter strips are areas of native grass or plants created along roadways or streams. They trap the pollutants that stormwater picks up as it flows across driveways and streets.