NORFOLK

Stormwater pollution results when precipitation such as rain or snowmelt runs over surfaces picking up pollutants like pesticides, fertilizers, construction site sediments, pet waste, litter, etc. These pollutants can significantly degrade water quality and threaten aquatic wildlife and human health. In addition, stormwater pollution impacts our drinking water supplies and use of waterways for recreational activities such as swimming, fishing, and boating. 

Runoff from our lawns, rooftops and driveways drain directly into the stormwater system. This system consisting of ditches, storm drains and pipes, or other conveyances which collect and transport stormwater, all discharges stormwater directly to nearby streams, lakes, and waterways without treating the water first to remove contaminants. Because of this, it is important for us to try and prevent pollutants from being washed into these storm drains from our car, lawn, and pool maintenance activities. The facts related to pollution can be staggering:

• A single quart of oil can pollute 250,000 gallons of drinking water (NDRC, 1994).

• Recycling just one gallon of used oil can generate enough electricity to run the average household for almost 24 hours (Philadelphia Water Department, A Homeowner’s Guide to Stormwater Management, January 2006).

• Pesticides are toxic to the fish and the organisms living in our waterways and are harmful to our drinking water supplies.

• Excessive nutrients from fertilizers result in an overgrowth of algae and plants which depletes the necessary oxygen for fish.

• Back wash residues, algaecides, and acid washes from routine swimming pool and spa maintenance can be very harmful if discharged into our waterways.

Below are tips we can all adopt to help keep our local waterways healthy!

Vehicle Maintenance:

Using the following tips for proper car and truck maintenance can prevent pollutants such as oil, heavy metals, and toxic materials from entering the storm drain:

• Frequently check your vehicle for leaks by examining the pavement in your driveway or garage and use drip pans to capture the leaky substances until you are able to completely repair the leak.

• Properly dispose of or recycle used or unwanted oil, transmission fluid, antifreeze, and batteries. Never dump or allow these materials to leak onto paved surfaces that connect to the storm drain system. 

• Carefully store vehicle maintenance supplies in tightly sealed containers to prevent spills. 

• In the case of a spill, use an absorbent material to contain the potential pollutant, clean it up immediately once absorbed, and properly dispose of the spill and cleanup materials.

Special tip: Empty liquid detergent bottles are excellent for storing vehicle maintenance fluids because the lids seal tightly.

Lawn Maintenance:

Using the following tips for proper lawn care and maintenance can prevent pollutants such as pesticides, fertilizers, lawn clippings and leaves from entering the storm drain and negatively affecting our nearby waterways:

• Use pesticides and fertilizers sparingly and never right before it rains.  If you believe that your soil needs nutrients, have your soil tested first so that you know the proper amount to apply. Over application of fertilizers is a leading cause or pollution from homeowners.

• Composting and/or using organic fertilizers are highly recommended to reduce polluted runoff from our homes.

• Do not use a leaf blower or sweep your leaves and grass clippings into the storm drains around your home. This clogs storm drains which can cause flooding issues and adds excessive nutrients to our waterways. Grass clippings hold the fertilizers or pesticides that are applied to your lawn, and if blown into the nearby storm drains will carry these pollutants into the downstream waterways. 

Special tip:  Instead of bagging your lawn clippings and leaves, use your lawn mower to mulch the lawn waste and allow it to spread over your lawn which will act as a natural fertilizer. This will also help you save money because you will not have to pay for fertilizers and will help get that nice green lawn!

Pool Maintenance:

Using the following tips for proper pool maintenance can prevent chlorine from entering the storm drain:

• Drain your pool waters to the sanitary system if possible and allow by local ordinance. The sanitary system provides treatment before discharge to local waterways.

• If draining your pool water to the stormwater system, only drain your pool when a test kit demonstrates that the chlorine levels have dissipated and are no longer detected. The pH should be between 6.5 and 8.5 before discharging. 

• Never clean or rinse a pool or spa filter over a paved area that leads to a storm drain. Only rinse in a sink that is connected to the sanitary system or over a lawn that will absorb and infiltrate the runoff.   

• Carefully store your pool chemicals in a covered area and in tightly sealed containment to prevent spills and/or exposure to precipitation.  

• Prevent algae buildup and the need for additional chemicals with regular cleanings and maintaining consistent chlorine levels.

• Avoid the use of the more toxic copper-based algaecides by using an alternative such as sodium bromide.

Stormwater pollution results when precipitation such as rain or snowmelt runs over surfaces picking up pollutants like pesticides, fertilizers, construction site sediments, pet waste, litter, etc. These pollutants can significantly degrade water quality and threaten aquatic wildlife and human health. In addition, stormwater pollution impacts our drinking water supplies and use of waterways for recreational activities such as swimming, fishing, and boating. 

 

Runoff from our lawns, rooftops and driveways drain directly into the stormwater system. This system consisting of ditches, storm drains and pipes, or other conveyances which collect and transport stormwater, all discharges stormwater directly to nearby streams, lakes, and waterways without treating the water first to remove contaminants.  Because of this, it is important for us to try and prevent pollutants from being washed into these storm drains from our car, lawn, and pool maintenance activities.  The facts related to pollution can be staggering:

 

  • A single quart of oil can pollute 250,000 gallons of drinking water (NDRC, 1994).

  • Recycling just one gallon of used oil can generate enough electricity to run the average household for almost 24 hours (Philadelphia Water Department, A Homeowner’s Guide to Stormwater Management, January 2006).

  • Pesticides are toxic to the fish and the organisms living in our waterways and are harmful to our drinking water supplies.

  • Excessive nutrients from fertilizers result in an overgrowth of algae and plants which depletes the necessary oxygen for fish.

  • Back wash residues, algaecides, and acid washes from routine swimming pool and spa maintenance can be very harmful if discharged into our waterways.

 

Below are tips we can all adopt to help keep our local waterways healthy!

 

Vehicle Maintenance:

Using the following tips for proper car and truck maintenance can prevent pollutants such as oil, heavy metals, and toxic materials from entering the storm drain:

  • Frequently check your vehicle for leaks by examining the pavement in your driveway or garage and use drip pans to capture the leaky substances until you are able to completely repair the leak.

  • Properly dispose of or recycle used or unwanted oil, transmission fluid, antifreeze, and batteries.  Never dump or allow these materials to leak onto paved surfaces that connect to the storm drain system. 

  • Carefully store vehicle maintenance supplies in tightly sealed containers to prevent spills. 

  • In the case of a spill, use an absorbent material to contain the potential pollutant, clean it up immediately once absorbed, and properly dispose of the spill and cleanup materials.

     

Special tip: Empty liquid detergent bottles are excellent for storing vehicle maintenance fluids because the lids seal tightly.

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