Stormwater Tips

From the Mystic River Watershed Association -

Do Your Part for Cleaner Water and a Healthier Environment

Every time you turn on the faucet, you have a local waterway to thank for the clean water that comes flowing out. And every time your kids or pets play in a river or lake, they're enjoying rainwater that landed on a home, business, street, or sidewalk somewhere upstream from your location. 

When our ancestors first built their mills in this area, those waterways were surrounded by vast forests and the waterways were sparkling clean. But today, our waterways are surrounded by buildings, roads, parking lots, and farm fields. And our waterways just aren't as clean as they could be. But if everybody does their part and takes some simple steps to make a difference, our rivers could be clean and sparkling again! 

Clean Water Tip #1: Scoop Your Dog's Poop

You hate stepping in it. And fish hate swimming in it, too! Regularly scoop your dog's poop from public areas AND your back yard, before it washes into our waterways. 

Pet waste left on grass or sidewalks doesn't stay there. Every time it rains, the waste breaks down and washes into our rivers. You can put the waste in those handy pet waste stations that are popping up everywhere, though any outside trash can is just fine. 

Clean Water Tip #2: Catch Your Rain

Capture the rain that falls on your property in a rain barrel, rain garden, or on the leaves of your trees and shrubs. You’ll reduce flooding and keep our waterways clean.

When rainwater runs across dirty areas (like streets, sidewalks, and construction sites), it carries that pollution into our waterways. When you keep that water onsite, you can use it yourself or let it soak into the ground or evaporate, instead of picking up trash and pollution on its way to the nearest waterway.  

Clean Water Tip #3: Test Your Soil and Read Your Fertilizer Labels

Test your soil and read the label before you apply fertilizer. If you use too much fertilizer, the excess will just wash away in the next rain, polluting your local waterways. 

If you need to use fertilizer, slow release and phosphorous-free fertilizer are safer for the environment. And if your yard doesn't need fertilizer, there's plenty that you can do each spring. You can spread fresh grass seed, aerate your soil, and plant some of those native shrubs you've been eyeing. 

Clean Water Tip #4: Bag or Compost Your Grass

In the spring, bag your grass clippings for curbside pickup. Even better, compost them to make a natural fertilizer for your garden. But whatever you do, don't dump them in a storm drain or leave them on the sidewalk!

When grass clippings decay in your composter, that's healthy fertilizer. But when they rot in our streams, that's water pollution! 

Clean Water Tip #5: Bag or Compost Your Leaves

After enjoying the fall foliage, bag your leaves for curbside pickup, or mulch them. Remember, never dump them in a storm drain or leave them on the sidewalk!

Mulched leaves also make great fertilizer. But when they rot in our streams, that's water pollution!