“We All Live Downstream”
Stormwater pollution is the runoff that occurs from rain, irrigation and snow melt and everything that is picked up along the way as it travels downhill to the nearest stream, river, lake and beach. This runoff does not get treated, but goes straight to the waterways that we use for fishing, bathing and even drinking. What is picked up by stormwater runoff is “people pollution” – fertilizers and pesticides, motor oil, sand and dirt, pet waste, trash and so on. All of this can amount to one dirty waterway. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) actually considers stormwater the greatest threat to our water quality. Here is what you, as a homeowner, pet owner, or car owner can do to reduce stormwater pollution:
- Test Your Soil before applying fertilizer to your lawn – your lawn may already have enough nutrients. Excess nutrients from excess fertilizer ends up in our lakes and rivers leading to algae blooms and fish kills.
- Pick Up Pet Waste to keep it from contaminating water supplies. You can flush the waste, bag it for trash or build a doggie-loo (pet waste septic system).
- Wash your car on the lawn instead of the driveway to minimize runoff into the storm drain and use low-phosphorus, biodegradable soaps. Remember to check your car for leaks – these chemicals wash off road surfaces into the waterway.
- Bag grass clippings and leaves or use them as compost. Don’t sweep them into the street or down storm drains as that leads to nutrient issues and potential clogging and flooding.
- Don’t over-water your lawn, doing so sends more pollutants into nearby drains. Plus, your lawn only requires little more than an inch of rain per week. A rain gauge will help you keep track of how much rain your lawn is receiving.