Only Rain Down the Drain
Understanding where storm sewer pollution comes from and what you can do to help our community have a better environment.
When the rain or water hit hard surfaces like pavement, it creates storm water run-off. The runoff picks up lots of nasty pollution as it is carried directly through the gutters and drains out to the rivers, streams, and lakes, making them toxic and unsafe for people and animals. The pollution is typically not treated or removed from the water on its journey, so it’s up to us to keep it clean and fresh from the start. Here are some things we can all do to minimize storm water pollution and keep our community looking and feeling great.
Step 1: Maintain your car or truck. Never dump any chemicals from these vehicles down a storm drain. Always recycle used oil, antifreeze and other fluids. Fixing leaks on your vehicle will minimize run-off during rain or watering events.
Step 2: Wash your vehicle at a commercial car wash rather than in the street or in your driveway. These types of facilities typically will contain storm or sanitary basins designed to minimize chemical run-off. If you prefer to wash at home, do so in a grassy area so soaps and cleaners can collect locally on site and not down a storm drain.
Step 3: Drive less. Leave your car at home at least one day each week and take a bus, carpool or bike to work. Combine errands when you drive. Get your vehicle emissions system checked. Buy a low emissions vehicle to reduce pollutants.
Step 4: Cut down on fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides. If you use these chemicals, follow the label directions and use them sparingly. Don’t fertilize before a rainstorm. Consider using an organic type fertilizer. Compost or mulch lawn clippings. Preserve existing trees or plant new ones—trees hold rainfall and help manage storm water.
Step 5: Pick up after your pets. Scoop your dog’s poop and properly dispose of it.
Step 6: Reduce impervious surfaces at home and increase the vegetated land cover on your property. Reduce your rooftop runoff by directing your gutter downspouts to vegetated areas and not directly into the storm drain on your street. For your driveway and patios, consider putting in a permeable paving brick or patterns of cement and brick that allow rain water to filter through it.
If each of us can make some small adjustments in our daily routines now, together we can insure our water & environment stay clean and healthy for generations to come.