Make your home



A homeowner's guide to healthy
habits for clean water
      Unrme EMIM

        As stormwater flows over driveways,
        lawns, and sidewalks, it picks
        up debris, chemicals, dirt,
and other pollutants. Stormwater
can flow into a storm sewer
system or directly to a lake,
stream, river, wetland, or coastal
water. Anything that enters a
storm sewer system is discharged
untreated into the waterbodies
we use for swimming, fishing, and
providing drinking water. Polluted
runoff is the nation's greatest threat to
clean water.

By practicing healthy household habits, homeowners can keep common
pollutants like pesticides, pet waste, grass clippings, and automotive fluids off
the ground and out of stormwater. Adopt these healthy household habits and
help protect lakes, streams, rivers, wetlands, and coastal waters. Remember
to share the habits with your neighbors!

Healthy Household Habits for Clean Water
Vehicle and Garage

    Use a commercial car wash or wash your car on a lawn or other unpaved surface to minimize
    the amount of dirty, soapy water flowing into the storm drain and eventually into your local
                                    Check your car, boat, motorcycle, and other machinery
                                    and equipment for leaks and spills. Make repairs as soon as
                                    possible. Clean up spilled fluids with an absorbent material
                                    like kitty litter or sand, and don't rinse the spills into a
                                    nearby storm drain. Remember to properly dispose of the
                                    absorbent material.

                                      Recycle used oil and other automotive fluids at
                                       participating service stations. Don't dump these
                                       chemicals down the storm drain or dispose of them in
                                       your trash.

                                     Lawn and Garden

                                      Use pesticides and fertilizers sparingly. When use is
                                       necessary, use these chemicals in the recommended
                                       amounts. Avoid application if the forecast calls for rain;
                                       otherwise, chemicals will be washed into your  local
                               Select native plants and grasses that are drought- and pest-
                               resistant. Native plants require less water, fertilizer, and pesticides.
                 Sweep up yard debris, rather than hosing down areas. Compost or recycle yard
                  waste when possible.

    Don't overwater your lawn. Water during the cool times of the day, and don't let water run off
    into the storm drain.
     Cover piles of dirt and mulch being used in landscaping projects to prevent these pollutants
     from blowing or washing off your yard and into local waterbodies. Vegetate bare spots in your
     yard to prevent soil erosion.

Home Repair and Improvement

    Before beginning an outdoor project, locate the nearest storm drains
    and protect them from debris and other materials.

    Sweep up and properly dispose of construction debris such
    as concrete and mortar.

    Use hazardous substances like paints,  solvents, and
    cleaners in the smallest amounts possible, and
    follow the directions on the label. Clean up spills
    immediately, and dispose of the waste safely.  Store
    substances properly to avoid leaks and spills.

    Purchase and use nontoxic, biodegradable, recycled,
    and recyclable products whenever possible.

    Clean paint brushes in a sink, not outdoors. Filter
    and reuse paint thinner when using oil-based paints.
    Properly dispose of excess paints through a household
    hazardous waste collection program, or donate unused
    paint to local organizations.

    Reduce the amount of paved area and increase the amount of
    vegetated area in your yard. Use native plants in your landscaping
    to reduce the need for watering during dry periods. Consider directing
    downspouts away from paved surfaces onto lawns and other measures to increase
    infiltration and reduce polluted runoff.

Pet Care

    When walking your pet, remember to pick up the waste and dispose of it properly. Flushing pet
    waste is the best disposal method. Leaving pet waste on the ground increases public health risks
    by allowing harmful bacteria and nutrients to wash into the storm drain and eventually into local

Swimming Pool and Spa

    Drain your swimming pool only when a test kit does not detect chlorine levels.

    Whenever possible, drain your pool or spa into the sanitary sewer system.

    Properly store pool and spa chemicals to prevent leaks and spills, preferably in a covered area to
    avoid exposure to stormwater.

Septic System Use and Maintenance

    Have your septic system inspected by a professional at least every 3 years, and have the septic
    tank pumped as necessary (usually every 3 to 5 years).

    Care for the septic system drainfield by not driving or parking vehicles on it. Plant only grass
    over and near the drainfleld to avoid damage from roots.

    Flush responsibly. Flushing household chemicals like paint, pesticides, oil, and antifreeze can
    destroy the biological treatment taking place in the system. Other items, such as diapers, paper
    towels, and cat litter, can clog the septic system and potentially damage components.

                 Storm drains connect to waterbodiesl

                    WHEN IT RAMS

                    IT DRAINS

    Remember: Only rain down the drain!

               For more information, visit
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