Top Ten: Tactics to Prevent Stormwater Runoff

stop runoff san diegoStormwater pollution is the biggest challenge clean water faces in San Diego County. With over 3-million people living in our county, small amounts of pollution adds up fast. Here are the top ten ways you can reduce your contributions to stormwater pollution.

Stormwater pollution is the biggest challenge clean water faces in San Diego County. With over 3-million people living in our county, small amounts of pollution adds up fast. Here are the top ten ways you can reduce your contributions to stormwater pollution.

1. Don’t dump anything down the stormdrains.
Stormdrains are for stormwater. Not mop water, not your used motor oil, not your car washing rinse water. This water does not get any sort of cleaning treatment before it makes it’s way into our rivers, so help ensure only water from the sky ends in our stormdrains.

2. Use pesticides and fertilizers sparingly.
Countywide, we have major problems with too much fertilizer and pesticides entering our water. Make sure your lawn fertilizers stay on your lawn and out of the gutter. Better yet, replant your area with native plants that don’t need chemicals to look good. Stay away from RAID for ants, and use a less toxic borax solution instead.

3. Use a car wash instead of washing your car in the street.
We all like our fly rides, but the soap you are washing your car with is probably contributing to the phosphorus pollution we are seeing in our streams. Take your car to a car wash which has to collect and clean the wash water before discharging it. If only you can give your car that sweet chamois rub down, wash your car on your lawn to keep that water from the gutter.

4. Pick up your dog poop.
Do we need to explain further. Dog poop is gross and has lots of fecal bacteria in it. Just as I don’t want to step in it, I don’t want it running into the river.

5. Throw your trash in the garbage.
Litter will make it’s way into our rivers through the stormdrain system. In addition to being unsightly, trash can harbor bacteria biofilms that encourage the growth of harmful bacteria.

6. Throw your cigarette butts away.
This really should be included with number 5, but some people don’t seem to have second thoughts about throwing butts on the ground. They are gross and contribute to the toxicity of the river. Put your butt away, no one like it.

7. Fix your clunker car.
Oil drips onto the road will wash into the river during the next storm. If you have a puddle underneath your parking spot, it’s time to take your car in for a repair. Your car and the fish will thank you.

8. Consider a rain barrel.
I know it doesn’t rain very often here, but capturing and reusing that rainwater means less of it can carry pollutants to the river. Your garden will be thankful for that sweet chlorine free water.

9. Direct your downspouts back onto your garden.
If rain barrels are not your thing, at least direct the downspout water away from your impervious driveway and back onto your garden. Your plants and the soil will filter that water on it’s way to the river.

10. Sweep your sidewalks and driveways clean.
Don’t use a hose to wash your sidewalks and driveways. This wastes water and sends non rainwater into the stormdrains. Does your driveway really need a late summer bath?

Published in Change Your Habits

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