Even if you don’t see a creek near your home, business, or favorite store, actions in these urban spaces have an impact on water quality. When it rains, precipitation washes everything on urban sidewalks, lawns, and rooftops into storm drains. Water from the storm drains then flows directly into our local creeks. There are many easy steps you can take to make sure that the water flowing into our creeks is as clean as possible. Water Environment Services’ website has a wealth of information available about watershed health as well!
- Never dump anything down a storm drain – trash, oil, or chemicals! If you have hazardous wastes to dispose of, visit DEQ’s page on Household Hazardous Waste. Also keep leaves and debris from clogging storm drains.
- Decrease the amount of water running off your lawn or roof. There are a number of low-impact development strategies that can be put to work. Strategies include green roofs, rainwater harvesting, bioswales, pervious parking lots and driveways, and rain gardens.
- Avoid using water for cleaning streets, sidewalks, and driveways whenever possible. You can use a broom to sweep debris free instead.
- Wash your car at an eco car wash, or on your lawn. Avoid washing it in the driveway or in the street, where the soap suds flow directly into storm drains. Also take your car to the mechanic regularly, and have any fluid leaks repaired.
- Pick up after your pet! Urban areas boast populations of pets that are higher than what they would be in nature. All of that poop adds up, and having bacteria and fecal matter wash untreated into our creeks makes water unhealthy for humans and aquatic life.
- Don’t feed wildlife in urban parks. A single Canada goose is able to produce up to 2 pounds of poop per day! Feeding urban wildlife is also not healthy for them.
- Plant a filter strip! There are many attractive native trees and shrubs that can be used in your landscaping. Plants’ roots will slow down and clean water prior to entering storm drains and ditches.