One of the main culprits of water pollution in the watershed is stormwater runoff.
When rain falls on hard surfaces it washes a number of pollutants into storm drains including:
- bacteria and parasites from pet waste
- chemicals from fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides
- Phosphorous from leaves and grass clippings
- snow/ice melt chemicals and sand
- motor oil, antifreeze, and transmission fluid
- all types of litter
Storm drains are connected via underground pipes to nearby water bodies, and all of the contaminated runoff flows directly into local streams, rivers, ponds, and the ocean, untreated.
Polluted stormwater causes problems for local drinking water sources; recreational activities like swimming, boating and fishing; and aquatic life.
The simplest way to prevent stormwater pollution is to keep our pavement clean and redirect water away from storm drains
Follow these simple steps to help reduce polluted stormwater runoff around your home and business:
- Always pick up after your dog and throw dog waste into a trash can. Dog waste contains bacteria and parasites that cause disease and pollutes our waters.
- Build a rain garden to treat runoff.
- Redirect downspouts so that water flows into grass or shrubs instead of onto a driveway or sidewalk.
- Place a rain barrel under your downspout to easily capture rain for use around your property.
- Avoid spraying driveways, roads or sidewalks when irrigating.
- Use lawn chemicals and ice melt sparingly, use organic whenever possible, and always follow manufacturer’s directions.
- Pick up lawn clippings/leaf litter, especially if near storm drains, and bag (for town pickup) or compost.
- 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.
- Dispose of household chemicals properly. Check with your local DPW if you’re not sure about proper disposal.
- 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
For more information, please contact NepRWA’s Water Resource Professional, Patrick Hogan, at firstname.lastname@example.org