Simple Steps for Improved Stormwater Management
What is stormwater?
Stormwater is rain or melted snow that is either absorbed into the soil or runs off through storm drains and into local bodies of water, like lakes, rivers, and streams.
In developed areas, stormwater produces a greater amount of runoff, which flows into storm drains and sewer systems at a faster rate.
If not managed properly, runoff that exceeds the system’s capacity can:
– Cause flooding & pollution
– Contaminate our drinking water
– Damage local habitats and infrastructure.
Less absorption into the soil also means lowered groundwater levels, which can lead to droughts.
Residents have more control over reducing stormwater pollution than they may think.
Here are a few easy ways individuals can help protect our water system:
1) Keep sewer grates cleared off.
Don’t dispose of leaves, trash, motor oil, pet waste, or any other items in the street or in stormwater catch basins/sewer grates. Blocked catch basins keep water from draining properly and pollute the water that drains.
2) Plant shrubs in the spring.
Shrubs and trees help to prevent excess runoff by increasing soil absorption and decreasing erosion. They also require less fertilizer than grass, which lowers pollution levels.
3) Clean up after your pet.
Animal waste pollutes the water that flows into our rivers and lakes.
4) Don’t litter.
Trash left on the ground can block drainage and cause pollution in bodies of water.
5) If you live near a stream, don’t obstruct the water flow.
Be sure to leave trash, leaves, branches, and other items on the curb to be collected—not blocking the stream, which can cause flooding.
6) Take your car to a car wash instead of washing it in your driveway.
When you wash your car on the pavement, soap, oil, and anything on your car can run into the storm drain.
For more tips on controlling stormwater runoff at home, visit www.cleanwaternj.org.