The storm drains on driveways and streets collect rain, melting snow and other water and channel it into stormwater sewers. These sewers empty directly into the nearest creek, river or the ocean.
By the time it reaches storm drains, water has picked up motor oil, fertilizers, heavy metals, litter and other pollutants that can be harmful to fish and the aquatic habitat. You can help protect local waters by keeping harmful materials out of storm drains.
What you can do at home
Never dump anything down a storm drain
Anything that goes into a storm drain goes directly into the nearest body of water.
- Recycle used motor oil and antifreeze.
Find a recycling location.
Find a take-back program for paints, solvents, and other household chemicals.
- Wash your car at a commercial car wash, where soaps will be collected and channeled into the treatment system.
In your yard
Cutting down the amount of chemicals and other materials in your yard means less will be carried into storm drains and end up in our local waters.
- Have a drug-free lawn: cut down on fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides.
- Keep clippings and other yard waste out of creeks, streams and other waterways (compost them if you can).
- Pick up after your pet.
Increase water absorption on your property
Increasing the amount of surfaces on your property that can absorb water lets water to soak into the ground instead of going into storm drains.
- Use alternative materials for your driveway/sidewalk, like grass pavers, mulch, gravel or pervious concrete.
- Reduce the surface area of your driveway or sidewalk.
- Ensure that your lawn and garden has sufficient top soil.