What you can do to help

Easy tips for keeping our water clean

  • Litter
    Litter disposed of in a storm drain can choke, suffocate and disable aquatic life. Dispose of your litter by throwing it in a trash can or recycling it. In addition, do your part by properly disposing of litter you find in the street or on the sidewalk.
  • Washing your car
    Washing your car in the driveway creates a runoff of soap and other chemicals that ends up in the nearest storm drain. You can either take your car to a self-service car wash, which is designed with special drains for proper disposal, or wash your car on your lawn. The dirt below will act as a filter for the soap.
  • Pet waste
    Pet waste dumped in storm drains goes straight into your rivers and lakes, contaminating the water. Even when you leave waste on your lawn, harmful bacteria can make its way into the drains, causing the same damage. It’s best to dispose of waste in the trash or, better yet, flush it down the toilet. This water will be properly treated.
  • Household chemicals
    Cleaning products and other household chemicals should never be dumped outside, down the sink or down a storm drain. Check below for the location of a facility that will dispose of them properly.
  • Friendly Alternatives
    Change out your household chemical supplies with some Safe, Economical, Environmentally Friendly Alternatives.
  • Fertilizer and pesticide
    Do not dispose of excess fertilizer or pesticide on your lawn. You’ll need to take leftover substances to a designated waste control area. Contact the city for more information.

More ways to help the initiative

  • Use environmentally friendly cleaning products — and continue to dispose of them in the proper manner.
  • Educate friends and family on the importance of proper waste disposal.
  • Attend community meetings and citizen panels, and voice your concerns.
  • Organize a community cleanup with your friends and family, and focus on areas around storm drains and waterways.
  • Start a citizen watch group and report any hazardous dumping.
  • "Adopt" a storm drain and choose one specific area near your home to take care of.

Resources on the Web

Tips for teachers

  • Explain to students the importance of keeping our waterways clean, for our health, the survival of wildlife and the wellbeing of our environment.
  • Discuss ways in which students can prevent harmful pollutants from entering our lakes, rivers and streams, as well as useful alternatives to stormdrain dumping.
  • Encourage students to talk about the issue among themselves — and with their parents.
  • Open a dialogue with other educators, exchanging tips, activities and new ideas for keeping the issue alive and interesting for students.

For contractors

The NDEQ and the EPA have provided guidelines and tips for proper elimination of pollutants from construction sites. Construction sites of one acre or more must of a Construction Stormwater Permit from the NDEQ.

Additional tips for homeowners — source

  • Review your home for stormwater handling. If your gutter, downspout, driveway or deck directly discharges into a water body, retrofit it by redirecting the runoff onto a grassy area or installing a berm/swale system. Or even install a Rain Barrel.
  • Design your landscaping to limit water use. Install a Rain Garden.
  • If you have an irrigation system, make sure it is in good working order and limit its use to actual watering needs. Install rain sensors into your irrigation system.
  • Consider replacing impervious surfaces like sidewalks, decks and driveways around your home with more pervious materials or methods like mulch, turf block, pervious concrete or clean stone.
  • Retain shrubby vegetation along waterfronts to prevent erosion and help stop heavy rain sheetflow.
  • Never dispose of oils, pesticides or other chemicals onto driveways, roadways or storm drains. The next rain will either carry it into a surface water or help it soak into our drinking water.
  • Reduce the amount of fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides you apply to your lawn and landscaping. What the plants can’t absorb quickly usually results in surface or groundwater pollution.

Useful websites

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