Prevent storm water pollution with these tips

Now that Spring is here and the weather is warming up, many of us have plans to enjoy our waterways by swimming, boating and fishing. We all want to enjoy clean water. So what can we do to help keep our water ways clean' It all starts with clean storm water.

Storm water is the runoff that occurs when it rains. Storm water can pick up any pollutant in its path, such as dirt, oil, chemicals, pesticides and cigarette butts. Since storm water does not get treated and cleaned before it flows into our local creeks, rivers and lakes, if it is dirty it causes our waterways to become polluted.

There are some simple things we all can do to help keep our storm water clean to protect our health and the environment. Here are a few pollution prevention tips: Car care:

- Try washing your car at a commercial car wash that recycles its wash water. If you wash your car at home, use a bucket rather than a running hose. If possible, wash your car on a grass area rather than concrete so that the water goes into the ground rather than into storm water drains.
- Regularly maintain your car and repair leaks promptly. Recycle used oil and filters. Pet waste:
- Pet waste is a major source of bacteria. Pickup after your pet and dispose of the waste by flushing, trashing or burying. Lawn care and yard waste:
- Use fertilizers and pesticides sparingly and only use the amount needed for the job. Spot treat when possible.
- Do not overwater.
- Pickup leaves, branches and other yard waste from your driveway, sidewalks and lawn as leaves and other yard debris can clog storm drains.
- Compost or mulch yard waste. Household hazardous waste:
- Do not pour hazardous chemicals down the drain, on the ground or into storm drains.
- Take hazardous waste from the home to household hazardous waste collection centers for proper disposal. To locate your nearest Household Hazardous Waste Collection Center, please visit
- Use non-toxic or "green" products whenever possible. You can make your own non-toxic multipurpose cleaner by combining a cup of baking soda, a cup of white vinegar and a cup of ammonia in a gallon of warm water.

We need to keep our fresh water clean because less than one-half of one percent of the Earth's water supply is usable fresh water. Of every 10,000 gallons of water on Earth, fewer than 50 are potentially usable fresh water, and only three of those gallons are found in surface bodies such as lakes, rivers and creeks.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16