When it rains and grass or other vegetation is in the street, it is washed down the storm drains. If this material doesn’t clog the drains, it flows into our waterbodies and starts to decay. This adds Excess nutrients to the waterbodies, which could lead to algal bloom and fish kills. When this happens, it is referred to as a “dead zone.”
Do's & Don'ts
Don't sweep or blow lawn clippings down the storm drain.
Grass clippings are beneficial to lawns and provide free nutrients for your grass and other plants. So, blow them back into your yard.
Do chose alternative methods for disposal.
Leaves and other vegetation can be used as mulch when composted or bagged and put in the trash for collection.
Excess fertilizers and pesticides will wash off lawns and gardens and pollute the rain water.
Use a minimal amount of pesticides and fertilizers and only when necessary.
Do chose chemical free alternatives.
Use organic mulch or safer pest control measures such as pest deterring vegetation when feasible.
STORMWATER FRIENDLY LANDSCAPING
With a rain barrel, you can collect rainwater from gutters. The water can then be used to water lawns or plants.
Rain garden or grassy swells
You can create an area planted with native plants that will provide a natural place for the rainwater to collect and soak into the ground.
Instead of traditional concrete or asphalt, which doesn't allow water to soak into the ground, a permeable pavement system allows water to soak through thereby reducing the runoff from stormwater.
If you're interested in learning more about stormwater friendly landscaping, the following links may be of interest.
Pet waste carries bacteria, viruses and parasites that can make people or even other pets sick. These organisms get picked up by the stormwater and carried to our water-bodies.
When walking your pet please pick up after it and dispose of its waste properly. Flushing pet waste is a great disposal method as is placing it in the trash. Pet waste is not a good fertilizer. Most compost piles do not get hot enough to kill the potentially harmful organisms in the waste.
Some of those organisms include:
- Hook worms - In people, these larvae usually migrate in the skin causing an itchy red track to develop
- Round worms - Can cause vision problems and nervous deficits
- Cryptosporidium - Common symptoms include diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea and dehydration. May be fatal to people with depressed immune systems
- Campylobacteriosis - A bacterial infection carried by dogs and cats that frequently causes diarrhea in humans.
- Giardia - Can cause extreme diarrhea.
Dumping automotive fluids into a storm drain has the same result as dumping them straight into a water body. When you wash your car all that soapy water flows into the storm drains. Leaking fluids from a car will be picked up by rainwater.
- Wash your car on your yard where the water can be infiltrated into the ground
- Use a commercial car wash where the wash water is treated or recycled
- Repair leaks and dispose of auto fluids and batteries at designated drop off areas.
Leaking or poorly maintained systems release or discharge untreated waste water. This waste water can contain bacteria and viruses that will be discharged into local ditches or picked up by stormwater and carried into waterbodies.
These pathogens can make you very sick. It is important to maintain the sewer systems. Check your system regularly to ensure your motor is running properly and have your system pumped out when needed.