Why is storm water pollution protection so important? The Federal Clean Water Act is the principal vehicle for the control of storm water pollutants, and in 1972, the Federal Clean Water Act was amended to establish the framework for regulating municipal and industrial storm water discharges. Simply put, it is illegal to dispose of pollutants in the storm drain system which leads to the streams or rivers of the state.
Walk the dog. Wash the Car. Change the oil. Add some anti-freeze. Kill some weeds. Fertilize the lawn. Certainly nothing illegal about any of it. But quietly, our most common household chores are having an unhealthy impact on Hampton Roads’ waterways. Each time it rains, everything we leave on our streets, driveways and lawns washes untreated through our ditches and storm drains and into our streams, rivers, lakes and bays. What’s so hard about stopping the toxic soup of pollutants streaming into our prized local waters? Not a thing. Here are easy some solutions to help.
- Fertilize your lawn in the fall. Spring rains wash fertilizer off your lawn and into waterways. Exception: warm season grasses like Bermuda, Zoysiagrass, Centipedegrass & St. Augustine should be fertilized in the spring.
- If you use chemical fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides, use them sparingly and follow label directions carefully. Never apply fertilizers or pesticides when a heavy rain is forecast.
- For environmentally friendly ways to control pests and landscape your yard, contact your local Virginia Cooperative Extension office.
- Recycle or properly dispose of used motor oil and other hazardous wastes. One quart of motor oil can contaminate up to 2 million gallons of water.
- Use a commercial car wash, where wastewater is managed to protect our waterways. Or, wash the car on the grass with a mild, biodegradable soap.
- Reduce the amount of paved surfaces around your home. Using bricks, stones, pea gravel or oyster shells for driveways, walkways and patios can filter pollutants and reduce the amount of rainwater flowing into storm drains.
- Be sure that gutters and roof spouts empty onto the grass, or into a rain barrel for future landscape watering.
- Keep leaves, grass clippings, soaps, litter and harmful chemicals away from streets, ditches, storm drains and waterways. The added nutrients and toxins those products feed our waterways contribute to harmful algae blooms and fish kills.
- Bag pet waste and place it in the trash. Pet waste contains harmful bacterial pollutants and nutrients which imperil waterway ecosystems.
Please report any storm drain grates, inlets, or storm drain water drain pipes which have debris covering them to the City Public Works Department at 636-586-2499 or City Hall 636-586-3326