Most debris and contaminants enter the stormdrain system by way of stormwater runoff.
What Is Runoff?
When it rains, water falls on the ground. If that ground is covered with pavement or buildings, or any other impervious (nonporous) surface the water runs off of the surface and into our curbs, down our stormdrains and ends up in our local waterways. Runoff can even occur on pervious surfaces when the rainfall is heavy, or the area is sloped and there is nothing to slow the flow of water over the land and into the streets.
Runoff carries pollutants such as oil, dirt, trash, metals, chemicals, and fertilizers into local waterways.
Tell Me More
According to the EPA, "a typical city block generates more than 5 times more runoff than a woodland area of the same size." Not only is there more runoff from developed areas, but there is also a significant increase in both the amount and variety of pollutants in that runoff.
What Can I Do?
To minimize the runoff from your home or business:
1. Landscape your home and business with Florida native plants and minimize turf areas. This will minimize your irrigation, which of course, reduces runoff. Native plants also do not need chemicals such as fertilizers and pesticides. This reduces what kind of pollutants runoff your property. The plants will also help to create a more varied terrain to help keep the water on your yard.
2. Use pesticides and fertilizers sparingly. When you do use them, follow the directions and never fertilize before it rains (because then it all RUNS OFF).
3. Dispose of used motor oil, paint, and other chemicals at designated locations. Never put these contaminants in a stormdrain!
4. Re-use your yard waste (leaves, grass cuttings, etc.) in your yard for mulch and soil augmentation. If you need to dispose of it, follow the directions from your solid waste provider. Never blow or sweep yard waste into the curb.
5. Wash your car at a commercial car wash or on your lawn--not the driveway.
6. Use rainbarrels and rain gardens to capture the runoff from your roof.
To learn more about green techniques to minimize the impact of stormwater runoff on waterways, visit the EPA's website at www.epa.gov/nps/lid or click Reduce Runoff: Slow It Down, Spread It Out, Soak It In.