Take Action at Home
Take Action for Clean Water at Home
Did you know? Storm drains carry dog poop, lawn chemicals, oily spills and other trash into our local water supply. Completely separate from the sewer system that leads to a treatment plant, storm drain systems include gutters, pipes, ditches and drainage ways that transport water directly to local streams, rivers or lakes.
YOU can make a difference! Homeowners can help protect the health of our streams by managing the quality and quantity of rainwater that flows off their property.
- Reduce fertilizer, herbicides and pesticide use. Consider using organic fertilizers; they release nutrients more slowly.
- Plant native trees and plants; remove invasive plant species.
- Sweep patios, driveways and other paved areas rather than hose them off. Bag or compost debris, don't sweep it into the street.
- Dispose of yard and lawn trimmings properly such as composting, recycling or yard debris pick-up.
- Take your vehicle to a commercial car wash that treats and recycles water. If you are washing your car at home, use a bucket instead of a hose.
- Recycle used motor oil. Many auto supply stores, car care centers, and gas stations will accept used oil. Do not pour liquid waste down floor drains, sinks or storm drains.
- Collect roof runoff in a rain barrel to use for watering plants and garden.
- Make sure wastewater from washing the exterior of your home or roof is not discharged into the street. Infiltrate it directly into the grass or gravel.
- Install permeable surfaces for sidewalks, patios and driveways.
- During winter storms apply de-icing products discriminately, focusing on high use areas and slopes where traction is critical.
- Install a rain garden. Many localities offer a monetary credit or other financial incentive for homeowners interested in installing a rain garden.
- Disconnect your roof downspout and direct the water into a grassy area, permeable pavement, or rain garden instead of into the storm drain.
- Scoop doggy poop!
To learn more about actions you can take at home, visit your locality for additional polluted runoff information:
- District of Columbia: https://www.dcwater.com/education/cleaning_our_waterways.cfm
- Maryland: http://www.mde.state.md.us/programs/Water/WaterConservation/Pages/programs/waterprograms/water_conservation/household_tips/index.aspx
- Alexandria, VA: https://www.alexandriava.gov/tes/stormwater/info/default.aspx?id=93347
- Arlington, VA: https://environment.arlingtonva.us/stormwater-watersheds/stormwater-at-home/
- Fairfax County, VA: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpwes/stormwater/)
- Loudoun County, VA: https://www.loudoun.gov/index.aspx?NID=3377
- Prince William County, VA: http://www.pwswcd.org/home-owners.html