Did you Know?
As you drive or walk through your neighborhood, think of all the things you see lying on the streets. You will probably see things like litter, bottle caps, and cut grass or leaves. All of these items have the potential to wash down the storm drain during the next rainfall. Now think about all the other items that aren’t as easy to see that can also wash down the storm drains. These could be chemicals like pesticides or fertilizers from your lawn, oil and other automobile fluids and cleaners from driveways and parking lots, and pet wastes. All of these can be carried directly into our creeks, rivers and lakes, contaminating the water and causing problems for plants and -animals. Stormwater is not treated at a wastewater treatment facility, so it is our responsibility to see that these potential pollutants do not enter the storm drains from the start.
If possible, move your vehicle onto the grass before you start washing. The grass in the yard will soak up the water and filter out oil and other grime that you are washing away. Commercial carwashes are also a good option as water from these businesses flow to a wastewater treatment facility to be cleaned before being released back into local streams.
Household chemicals like oil, paint, cleaning products, and batteries can be harmful to the environment if not disposed of properly. Chemicals should never be poured down storm drains or directly on the ground because of the dangers to ground and surface water resources. These chemicals can be taken to a household hazardous waste collections centers for safe disposal for free. For more information on local drop-off facilities and the products that they accept, contact your local solid waste district or click here to visit the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality website for listings.
Many water pollutions issues are caused by home use of fertilizers and pesticides. Too much pesticide can kill aquatic animals and plants while runoff from over-application of fertilizers can cause algae to grow rapidly. Use the following tips when applying these chemicals to your yard and gardens: • Follow the directions on the package label. More is not better! • Sweep granules that have fallen on sidewalks and driveways back into the yard so it does not wash away. • Have your soil tested to see what types and amount of fertilizers might be needed. Soil testing is provided for free at your local Cooperative Extension Service office.
Pet waste pollution can be prevented by flushing or burying the waste. Decaying waste depletes oxygen levels in the water that may kill fish and can contain bacteria and parasites that can be harmful to human health.