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5 Tips for Preventing Stormwater Pollution

By Jamie Richardson | February 13, 2023

Stormwater gathers many pollutants into waterways. These pollutants may include grease, antifreeze, heavy metals, and oil from cars; pesticides, fertilizers, and other chemicals from homes, businesses, and gardens; sediment from bad construction site practices; and bacteria from failing septic tanks and pet wastes. Contaminated stormwater runoff adversely impacts people, plants, and animals. Sediment may cloud the water, making it hard for aquatic plants to grow or destroying marine habitats.

Debris and dangerous household waste can impact aquatic life. Pathogens like bacteria may be washed into swimming areas, causing health hazards. Stormwater pollution also impacts drinking water sources, affecting human health and increasing water treatment costs. However, these problems can be avoided. Here are five tips for preventing stormwater pollution.

  1. Establish a stormwater management plan

Stormwater management involves reducing melted snow or rainwater runoff into lawns, streets, and other areas and water quality improvement. Once stormwater is absorbed into the ground, it's filtered and flows into rivers and streams or replenishes aquifers. However, when heavy rains occur, the ground is saturated by water, creating extra moisture, which often carries eroded soil, bacteria, debris, and other pollutants.

It runs across surfaces into sewer systems, road ditches, and storm drains. This may cause erosion, flooding, sanitary and sewer system overflow, infrastructure damage, and turbidity. A stormwater management plan or a Stormwater Compliance service can help detain stormwater and eliminate pollutants.

  1. Don’t overwater your lawn

Good lawn watering practices can help prevent stormwater pollution, conserve water, and enhance your lawn’s quality. When you overwater your lawn, the excess chemicals in the soil and water can run into the stormwater system, polluting nearby rivers and streams. The fertilizer applied when watering may be washed far under the roots before it’s absorbed properly, contaminating groundwater. Since groundwater supplies drinking and irrigation water for most of a country's population, its pollution contaminates rivers and lakes.

  1. Implement proper lawn and yard care practices
Preventing pesticide and fertilizer applications from going into storm drains and streets safeguards waterways from contamination. All pollution sources, including pesticide and fertilizer application runoffs, shouldn't leave your property. Lawn care may generate pollutants like pesticides and fertilizers, which may be washed into waterways due to rain events or irrigation runoff, harming aquatic life and degrading water quality.

Leaves, tree trimmings, and grass clippings may clog storm drain systems, increasing flooding risk. Upon settling into water bodies, they may start decomposing and absorbing the oxygen aquatic lives require to survive. Consider disposing of waste thoughtfully, applying less-toxic chemicals, using pesticides sparingly, sticking to label instructions, and more to avoid stormwater pollution.

  1. Wash your vehicle on the gravel or lawn

Most soaps have chemicals that degrade water quality and harm fish. If you wash your vehicle in the driveway, that soap, plus the oil, grease, dirt, and grime from the car, can flow into surrounding storm drains, running directly into streams, rivers, or lakes. Soaps with phosphate may cause excess algae growth in local waterways. Consider washing your vehicle on the gravel or lawn where the water will soak the ground with soil acting as a natural filter.

  1. Ensure proper pet waste disposal

Pet waste contributes to stormwater pollution, degrading water quality. If left on lawns, sidewalks, beaches, and trails, the waste may wash into storm drains and water bodies, polluting the water. Consider picking up and ensuring proper waste disposal to prevent pollution.


Contaminated stormwater is harmful to human health, animals, and aquatic life. Use these tips to prevent stormwater pollution.

Jamie is a 5-year freelance writer who enjoys real estate. He is currently a Realty Biz News Contributor.
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