The simplest way to prevent stormwater pollution is to keep our pavement clean and redirect water away from stormdrains.
When rain falls on hard surfaces, it washes pollutants such as bacteria and parasites from pet waste, and chemicals from fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides, ice melt, motor oil, antifreeze, and windshield washer fluid directly into catch basins or storm drains. We call this dirty water polluted stormwater runoff.
Polluted stormwater causes problems for local drinking water sources; recreational activities like swimming, boating and fishing; and aquatic life.
Follow a few simple steps below to help prevent polluted stormwater runoff:
- Always pick up after your dog and throw dog waste into a trash can. Dog waste carries high levels of harmful E. coli bacteria and other pathogens that can wash into storm drains and waterways, and pose a health threat to swimmers, wildlife, and water quality.
- Build a rain garden to treat runoff.
- Pick up lawn clippings/leaf litter, especially if near storm drains, and bag it for town pickup, or compost.
- Use fertilizers and lawn chemicals sparingly, use organic whenever possible, and always follow manufacturer’s directions.
- Avoid spraying driveways, roads or sidewalks when irrigating instead of letting water run off into a storm drain.
- Redirect downspouts so that water flows into grass or shrubs.
- Place a rain barrel under your downspout to easily capture rain for use around your property.
- Use pervious hardscapes (like bricks or pavers) on patios, driveways, etc., to allow water to seep into the ground.
- Install a dry well in your yard to capture excess runoff.
- Wash your vehicle near the lawn so that the wash water runoff seeps into the ground and not down the driveway into a storm drain.
- Drain swimming pools/hot tub water into your lawn. Never down a storm drain.
- Learn more about rain gardens
- Get a printable rain garden guide and list of plants
- Visit US EPA’s Soak up the Rain website
- UConn NEMO website has useful how-to videos and information for homeowners
- MassDEP has resources on regulations and permits in Massachusetts, as well as links to other sites
- NH DES has a Homeowner’s Guide to Stormwater Management that is a step by step guide to managing stormwater on your property
Contact NepRWA’s Environmental Scientist, Chris Hirsch, with any questions firstname.lastname@example.org