Impacts of some common stormwater pollutants
Trash and Litter
- Litter that reaches creeks and streams can choke or suffocate birds or fish.
- Litter also may clog the stormwater drain system, leading to street flooding.
Bacteria and Disease-Causing Organisms
- These organisms can cause health hazards for animals and people.
Chemicals and Oils
- Aquatic animals may be poisoned by chemicals and oils.
- People also can be at risk if they eat contaminated fish or drink polluted water.
- Nutrients from fertilizers or detergents can cause algae to grow in water.
- This algae uses up the oxygen that native organisms use.
What can citizens do about stormwater pollution?
- Don’t litter or dump trash illegally.
- Never dump oils or chemicals into catch basins.
- Check your vehicle for leaks that might be running onto the pavement.
- Use non-toxic, phosphate-free, biodegradable cleaners when washing cars and boats, or go to a car wash.
- Avoid using chemicals on your lawn.
- Plant bare and graded areas to reduce erosion.
- Clean up after your pet(s).
- Check your plumbing and/or septic tank to make sure they are not leaking or discharging into stormwater drains.
- Use water-based paints. Look for products labeled “latex” or “cleans with water.”
- Water your lawn early in the morning. The sprinkler should be left on long enough to allow water to soak in, but not run off.
- Never dispose of cement washout or concrete dust into driveways, streets, gutters, or stormwater drains.
- Educate yourself and your family on additional stormwater pollution prevention tips.