Good Housekeeping Practices: Recycle or properly dispose of household products that contain chemicals, such as insecticides, pesticides, paint, solvents, and used motor oil and other auto fluids. Don’t pour them onto the ground or into storm drains.
Lawn care: Excess fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides applied to lawns and gardens wash off and pollute streams. In addition, yard clippings and leaves can wash into storm drains and contribute nutrients and organic matter to streams.
- Don’t overwater your lawn. Consider using a soaker hose instead of a sprinkler.
- Install an automated rain sensor on your irrigation system.Do not water between the hours of 10AM to 4PM, as much of the moisture will be lost due to evaporation.
- Use pesticides and fertilizers sparingly, and in accordance with Ordinance 2014-3. When use is necessary, use these chemicals in the recommended amounts. Use organic mulch or safer pest control methods whenever possible.
- Compost or mulch grass clippings, and sweep them into the lawn.
- Cover piles of dirt or mulch being used in landscaping projects.
Auto care: Washing your car and degreasing auto parts at home can send detergents and other contaminants through the storm sewer system. Dumping automotive fluids into storm drains has the same result as dumping the materials directly into a waterbody.
- Use a commercial car wash that treats or recycles its wastewater, or wash your car on your yard so the water infiltrates into the ground.
- Repair leaks and dispose of used auto fluids and batteries at designated drop-off or recycling locations.
Septic systems: Leaking and poorly maintained septic systems release nutrients and pathogens (bacteria and viruses) that can be picked up by storm water and discharged into nearby waterbodies. Pathogens can cause public health problems and environmental concerns.
- Inspect your system every 3 years and pump your tank as necessary (every 3 to 5 years).
- Don't dispose of household hazardous waste in sinks or toilets.
Pet waste: Pet waste can be a major source of bacteria and excess nutrients in local waters.
- 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.
Consider incorporating low impact design (LID) elements such as the following:
Permeable Pavement—Traditional concrete and asphalt don’t allow water to soak into the ground. Instead these surfaces rely on storm drains to divert unwanted water. Permeable pavement systems allow rain to soak through, decreasing stormwater runoff.
Rain Barrels—You can collect rainwater from rooftops in mosquito-proof containers. The water can be used later on lawn or garden areas.
Rain Gardens and Grassy Swales—Specially designed areas planted with native plants can provide natural places for rainwater to collect and soak into the ground. Rain from rooftop areas or paved areas can be diverted into these areas rather than into storm drains.
Native Plantings—These require less water, less maintenance, and less fertilizer than alternative plants.
For additional information, tips and ideas, visit http://www.befloridian.org/