When it rains, runoff from your home and property can carry pollutants such as bacteria, chemicals, auto fluids or trash directly to our waterways. Water that enters our storm drains is not treated before it enters our local creeks, rivers and the ocean. Clean water means healthy communities.
Here are some actions you can take that can help to prevent stormwater pollution in your community.
Fix broken and misaligned sprinkler heads, reduce watering time and skip watering before, during, and after rain.
- Check if your irrigation systems, such as sprinklers, are broken or misaligned and fix to prevent water from running off your property or falling on non-permeable surfaces, such as roads and sidewalks.
- Conduct an irrigation system audit. Turn on your system and observe where it is and is not spraying. Then, make adjustments to ensure water is spraying only on your landscape.
- Reduce your watering time to prevent run-off after your landscape becomes saturated. Investing in a smart controller for your sprinklers is a great way to reduce without a hassle!
- Skip watering before, during and after rain since your lawn or garden will have been watered naturally. This also keeps our water-sensitive plants happy and healthy.
- Consider replacing turf or non-native vegetation on your property with water efficient and/or native California plants to reduce the need for costly maintenance. Placing mulch on over exposed soils can help retain moisture in your landscaping and reduce run-off.
- Check your local government agency for rebate programs and tips on retrofitting your landscape to be more water efficient — https://www.sdcwa.org/find-your-water-district/.
Pick up pet waste, yard trimmings, trash and litter and place in a covered trash or recycling bin.
- Always pick up your pet’s waste and place in the trash can to prevent it from being washed into our storm drains by the rain. You can help keep our waterways and coast free from bacteria pollution from pet waste run-off.
- Did you know that 80% of the trash and litter found in our oceans travels there from inland places? Help keep our ocean healthy by placing all trash and litter in covered trash and recycling bins.
- When you are out walking with your pet or enjoying a fenced dog park, remember to carry your bagged pet waste to a covered trash bin.
- Yard trimmings, such as leaves, weeds and grass cuttings, should be picked up and placed in your trash or yard waste bin. Instead of blowing leaves and debris off your property, make sure to gather and place in your trash bin.
- Keep all household and landscaping items out of the storm drain. Remember, only rain in the storm drain!
Reduce your garden chemical use (fertilizer, pesticides, and herbicides).
- Avoid application of fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides prior to rainfall.
- Use natural fertilizers whenever possible, such as compost.
- Use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques to control pests. IPM includes the use of beneficial insects, trapping and weeding.
- Landscaping with native California plants reduces the need for costly chemical maintenance as the plants are more water efficient and pest resistant.
- If alternatives are not appropriate, apply fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides according to the manufacturer’s directions and use sparingly!
Keep your vehicle properly maintained.
- Oil and other automotive fluids that drip onto your driveway, the street and gutters will flow into the storm drains and directly into waterways without treatment. Regularly check vehicles for fluid leaks and make repairs as soon as possible. If you do find a leak, place drip pans underneath the vehicle to capture fluids until it can be repaired.
- If there is a spill, sweep or use absorbent materials, such as kitty litter, instead of water to clean up. After sprinkling over the spill, allow to sit for a few minutes to absorb the material and then use a broom and dustpan to transfer to a covered trash can.
- Take used oil, anti-freeze, and other household hazardous waste to a collection facility. For more information on facilities near you, call 1-877-R-1-EARTH (1-877-713-2784)
Redirect rain gutters and downspouts to your landscape.
- Ensure gutters and spouts drain to your landscape. Rainwater has value; if you capture and save for later, you reduce your use!
- Consider investing in a rain barrel or another rain harvesting device, which can be used to hand-irrigate your garden.
- Check with your local agency to see if they offer rebates or incentives towards rain barrels — https://www.sdcwa.org/find-your-water-district/.