Top 10 things you can do to keep area waters clean...
1. Conserve Water: Keep Your Rain
Maximize infiltration in your yard by directing rainwater away from paved areas. Plant a rain garden filled with deep-rooted grasses and wildflowers to maximize water absorption into the ground. If you don't have a rain garden, aim downspouts to grassy areas or into a rain barrel.
2. Be a Pooper Scooper
You can flush pet waste down the toilet, bury it 4-6 inches deep in the yard, toss it in the garbage, or dispose in a specially designed composter. Do not put it in your vegetable garden or compost that will be used for your garden.
3. Keep Leaves & Grass Clippings out of the Gutter & Storm Drains
Use leaves and/or grass clippings as mulch, or add it to a compost pile. Clippings and leaves can also be tilled directly into gardens or flowerbeds. If you live in a city or village, check your community's website to find out when the next leaf, brush and grass clipping pick up is happening.
4. Kick your Chemical Dependency
Use non-toxic alternatives to conventional household chemicals whenever possible. When not possible, properly dispose of hazardous household chemicals such as oil-based paints, cleaning chemicals, pesticides, solvents, batteries and disinfectants. Contact your local municipality to learn more about how to dispose of hazardous chemicals.
5. Practice Careful Car Care
Regularly maintain your car and fix any oil, radiator or transmission leak as soon as you see them. If you change your own oil, make sure to take the used oil to a recycling collection site. Never pour it behind the garage, on the driveway to kill weeds or down the storm drain. Also, consider using a commercial car wash, or wash your car on your lawn to prevent car-washing detergents from washing down the storm drain.
6. Don't Overfeed your Lawn
Test your soil before buying and applying fertilizer to your lawn. Most lawns don't need phosphorus, so don't pay for something you don't need. You can tell if a fertilizer is P-free by looking at the middle number. Zero means that it does not contain phosphorus. If soil tests show that your lawn does need fertilizer, apply according to manufacture's instructions. Don't "double the dose." After fertilizer application, you should sweep excess fertilizer off the driveway and street.
7. Use a Proper Container for Trash & Recyclables
Don't put trash into the street or gutter where it can be washed into the storm sewer system and then to local waterways.
8. Keep Soil in your Yard & Out of the Waterways
Bare soil easily washes into the storm drains. Cover exposed soil with seed and mulch as soon as possible. Cover piles of soil for your yard or garden with a tarp until you're ready to use it. If you're building a home, choose a builder who takes extra care not to track mud onto the streets, and who installs and maintains practices that prevent soil from washing off your lot during construction.
9. Be a Watershed Watchdog
If you see a potential storm water problem, such as clogged storm drains, trash in the gutter, pollutants washing into or discharging from storm sewers, or uncontrolled erosion from construction sites, contact your local municipal or county public works department.
10. Make Friends with your Watershed
Join a local watershed or conservation group and help clean up waterways in your area.