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Manage Your Stormwater Runoff

The fastest, most effective way to reduce stormwater runoff is for property owners to reduce or eliminate runoff from their property. 

Here are some ways to reduce both your runoff and the pollution in the little runoff that's left. 

For Streamside Properties

If you own or manage property along a stream, you have the chance to help protect that waterway against the damages from water runoff.  Here are some resources just for you:

Stormwater Smart Gardening and Landscaping

Most suburban yards do little to reduce stormwater runoff and can even contribute to the problem.  Here are some resources to help you make your yard both beautiful AND part of the solution.

  • Avoid the use of pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. If you must use them, do so sparingly and use only in the recommended amounts. Avoid application if the forecast calls for rain; otherwise, chemicals will be washed into your local stream.

  • Capture water from your downspouts in a rain barrel or rain planter.  If that is not possible, consider directing downspouts away from paved surfaces onto lawns or other areas with better infiltration to reduce polluted runoff.

  • Plant a rain garden to capture rain from impervious surfaces around your property. Learn how here or watch this video on rain gardens.

  • Select native plants and grasses that are drought- and pest-resistant. Native plants require less water, fertilizer, and pesticides. (list to follow)

  • Replace part or all of your lawn with a meadow to reduce runoff from your yard.  Learn how here.

  • Sweep up yard debris, rather than hosing down areas. Compost or recycle yard waste when possible. (Consider a separate “Do Not Use” mulch pile for yard waste from invasive plants like Lesser Celandine and English Ivy).

  • Minimally water your lawn or do not water it at all. If you must water, do so during the cool times of the day, and don’t let water runoff into the storm drain. Use water from rain barrels to water your lawn and gardens. 

  • Cover piles of dirt and mulch being used in landscaping projects to prevent these pollutants from blowing or washing off your yard and into local waterbodies. Vegetate bare spots in your yard to prevent soil erosion.

  • Reduce the amount of paved area and increase the amount of vegetated area in your yard. 

  • Consider permeable pavers instead of concrete or asphalt.

Vehicle and Garage Maintenance

  • Use a commercial car wash or wash your car on a lawn or other unpaved surface to minimize the amount of dirty, soapy water flowing into the storm drain and eventually into your local waterbody.

  • Check your car, boat, motorcycle, and other machinery and equipment for leaks and spills. Make repairs as soon as possible. Clean up spilled fluids with an absorbent material like kitty litter or sand, and don’t rinse the spills into a nearby storm drain. Remember to properly dispose of the absorbent material.

  • Recycle used oil and other automotive fluids at participating service stations. Don’t dump these chemicals down the storm drain or dispose of them in your trash.

Home Repair and Improvement

  • Before beginning an outdoor project, locate the nearest storm drains and protect them from debris and other materials.

  • For large projects, check to see if permitting from Rose Valley Borough or the Delaware County Conservation District is required.

  • Sweep up and properly dispose of construction debris such as concrete and mortar.

  • Use hazardous substances like paints, solvents, and cleaners in the smallest amounts possible, and follow the directions on the label. Clean up spills immediately and dispose of the waste safely. Store substances properly to avoid leaks and spills. Click here to learn about Delaware County Hazardous Household Waste Disposal

  • Purchase and use nontoxic, biodegradable, recycled, and recyclable products whenever possible.

  • Clean paint brushes in a sink, not outdoors. Filter and reuse paint thinner when using oil-based paints.

  • Properly dispose of excess paints through a household hazardous waste collection program or donate unused paint to local organizations.

Swimming Pool and Spa

  • Drain your swimming pool only when a test kit does not detect chlorine levels.

  • Do not drain your pool or spa into the sanitary sewer system. Discharge the water into a grassy area.

  • Properly store pool and spa chemicals to prevent leaks and spills, preferably in a covered area to avoid exposure to stormwater.

Pet Care

  • When walking your pet, remember to pick up the waste and dispose of it properly. Flushing pet waste is the best disposal method. Leaving pet waste on the ground increases public health risks by allowing harmful bacteria and nutrients to wash into the storm drain and eventually into local waterbodies.

Septic System Use and Maintenance

  • Have your septic system inspected by a professional at least every 3 years, and have the septic tank pumped as necessary (usually every 3 to 5 years).

  • Care for the septic system drain field by not driving or parking vehicles on it. Plant only grass over and near the drain field to avoid damage from roots.

  • Flush responsibly. Flushing household chemicals like paint, pesticides, oil, and antifreeze can destroy the biological treatment taking place in the system. Other items, such as diapers, paper towels, and cat litter, can clog the septic system and potentially damage components.

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