Stormwater Pollution Solutions
Recycle or properly dispose of household products that contain chemicals, such as insecticides, pesticides, paint, solvents, and used motor oil and other auto fluids. Don't pour them onto the ground or into storm drains.
Excess fertilizers and pesticides applied to lawns and gardens wash off and pollute streams. In addition, yard clippings and leaves can wash into storm drains and contribute nutrients and organic matter to streams.
Leaking and poorly maintained septic systems release nutrients and pathogens (bacteria and viruses) that can be picked up by stormwater and discharged into nearby waterbodies. Pathogens can cause public health problems and environmental concerns.
Washing your car and degreasing auto parts at home can send detergents and other contaminants through the storm sewer system. Dumping automotive fluids into storm drains has the same result as dumping the materials directly into a waterbody.
Pet waste can be a major source of bacteria and excess nutrients in local waters.
Education is essential to changing people's behavior. Signs and markers near storm drains warn residents that pollutants entering the drains will be carried untreated into a local waterbody.
Permeable Pavement—Traditional concrete and asphalt don't allow water to soak into the ground. Instead these surfaces rely on storm drains to divert unwanted water. Permeable pavement systems allow rain and snowmelt to soak through, decreasing stormwater runoff.
Rain Barrels—You can collect rainwater from rooftops in mosquito-proof containers. The water can be used later on lawn or garden areas.
Rain Gardens and Grassy Swales—Specially designed areas planted with native plants can provide natural places for rainwater to collect and soak into the ground. Rain from rooftop areas or paved areas can be diverted into these areas rather than into storm drains.
Vegetated Filter Strips—Filter strips are areas of native grass or plants created along roadways or streams. They trap the pollutants stormwater picks up as it flows across driveways and streets.
Dirt, oil, and debris that collect in parking lots and paved areas can be washed into the storm sewer system and eventually enter local waterbodies.
Erosion controls that aren't maintained can cause excessive amounts of sediment and debris to be carried into the stormwater system. Construction vehicles can leak fuel, oil, and other harmful fluids that can be picked up by stormwater and deposited into local waterbodies.
Lack of vegetation on streambanks can lead to erosion. Overgrazed pastures can also contribute excessive amounts of sediment to local waterbodies. Excess fertilizers and pesticides can poison aquatic animals and lead to destructive algae blooms. Livestock in streams can contaminate waterways with bacteria, making them unsafe for human contact.
Improperly managed logging operations can result in erosion and sedimentation.
Conduct preharvest planning to prevent erosion and lower costs.
Use logging methods and equipment that minimize soil disturbance.
Plan and design skid trails, yard areas, and truck access roads to minimize stream crossings and avoid disturbing the forest floor.
Construct stream crossings so that they minimize erosion and physical changes to streams.
Expedite revegetation of cleared areas.
Note: This web page is an html version of the "After the Storm" flyer ("After the Storm,"Jan. 2003, EPA 833-B-03-002). If you would like to print a copy of this flyer, it is on the EPA Weather Channel page or you may order a free copy from NSCEP.