How Citizens Can Help With Stormwater

What can I do at home to help reduce stormwater runoff and improve the community’s water quality?

Landscape Design
Use native plants, which are already adjusted to regional climactic conditions, require less irrigation and fertilizer, and are more disease resistant. Consider ground cover in place of some lawn or turf areas, as they require less maintenance and water than lawns.

Fertilizer Use

The reduction or elimination of fertilizer use is encouraged; if you must use fertilizers apply them sparingly and consider non-toxic options such as composted organic material. Also, only apply fertilizer when it will promote root growth and a healthier lawn and garden. Remember that fertilizer can get washed away when it rains and enter the stormwater system, adding excessive and harmful nutrients into local creeks and streams.

Use Mulch

Using mulches in your landscaping and gardening helps to retain water, reduce weed growth, prevent erosion and runoff, and improve the soil for plant growth.

Irrigate Efficiently

Much of the water that is applied to lawns and gardens is not absorbed by the vegetation. When water is applied too quickly, it is lost as runoff along with the top layers of soil. To prevent this, it is important to use low-volume watering approaches such as drip-type systems. In addition, watering should only occur in the early morning or evening, when temperatures are lower and less water evaporates.

Pesticide Use

Like fertilizers, pesticides should be used on lawns and gardens only when absolutely necessary. Pesticide use can be avoided entirely by selecting hearty plants that are native to the area and by keeping them healthy. It is also important to identify any potential pests to determine if they are truly harmful to the plant. If it is necessary to use chemical pesticides, the least toxic pesticide that targets the specific pest in question should be chosen and instructions should be followed carefully.

​Pet Waste Management

When walking your pet, please remember to pick up their waste and dispose of it properly. Bagging the waste and throwing it away is the best disposal method. Leaving pet waste on the ground increases public health risks by allowing harmful bacteria and excess nutrients to wash into the storm drain and eventually into local water bodies.

Trash Management

When trash is not properly disposed of litter enters the stormwater system and eventually our waterways, increasing the risk of flooding by clogging up storm drains and pipes and posing a threat to wildlife and human health. Practice waste reduction to limit the amount of trash you generate by reusing materials, buying products with less packaging, and throwing less away. Participate in recycling programs to reduce the quantity of waste being disposed of in landfills and substitute used materials for virgin materials, thereby reducing the demand for natural resources.

Household Hazardous Waste

That cabinet of cleaners and chemicals under the sink may contain hazardous substances; properly dispose of them.