Homeowners Pollution Prevention
Watering the Lawn
Why? This water may contain fertilizers, pesticides, soil and animal wastes that will run directly into the stormwater system which then ends up directly in our local creeks, streams and Lake Wylie.
Did you know that just one sprinkler head uses 15 gallons of water per minute? Most lawns require at least 30 minutes of watering. So just one sprinkler head uses 450 gallons of water each time the lawn is watered. So do the math: One yard with approximately 9 sprinklers uses 4,050 gallons of water.
If you must water your lawn please use the following storm water friendly tips:
- Water during the cooler times of day when more water can be absorbed.
- Turn-off the irrigation systems if it is raining.
- Only water when necessary.
- Properly maintain irrigation systems-Fix any broken sprinkler heads.
- Install a rain barrel or rain garden to conserve water.
- Cover any bare spots to avoid erosion.
Incorrect Use of Lawn Chemicals
Why? All excess chemicals that are not absorbed by the ground are washed off into the storm water system which then ends up directly into our local creeks, streams and Lake Wylie. The introduction of fertilizers and pesticides can kill fish and aquatic bug species which are a major food source for fish. They can also cause major algae blooms.
Did you know water pollution from incorrect usage of fertilizers and pesticides is the fastest growing problem today? They are the biggest cause for mass fish kills in streams and lakes.
When using yard chemicals please use the following guidelines:
- Read and follow all package directions carefully.
- Have your soil tested every three years to ensure you are using the correct fertilizers.
- Do not use pesticides or fertilizers near creeks or streams.
- Never fertilize your yard before to a large rainfall.
- Try and use organic materials instead of synthetic chemicals.
- Try and keep fertilizers and pesticides off paved surfaces.
- Use a drop spreader instead of rotary spreader in smaller places.
Yard Waste-Lawn Clipping & Leaf Piles
Why? Clippings and leaves that are blown or washed into the storm drain system can clog the systems resulting in flooding.
Did you know when the clippings and excess leaves end up in the creeks and stream they can act like fertilizers, which can cause massive algae blooms and fish kills?
What can I do with the grass clipping and leaves in my yard?
- Compost yard clippings and leaves in plant beds. They make great mulch.
- Collect and bag yard waste. Most trash collection agencies with collect and compost the waste.
- Blow grass clippings back onto your yard. They will act like a fertilizer and also help your yard maintain moisture.
- Always read directions before using any pool chemicals.
- Drain your pool or spa when absolutely necessary. A properly maintained pool or should only require draining every 5 years.
- With the permission of the sanitary sewer owner, try and drain pools and spas into the sanitary system not the storm drain system.
- Use a pool test kit to check that the chlorine levels before draining. Chlorine levels must be below 0.1 parts per million (ppm) to be drained into the street, gutter or storm drain system.
- Never drain acid washing wastewater or other pool cleaning wastewater into the street or storm drain system.
- Properly store all chemicals to avoid spilling.
Why? Swimming pools are a major source of chlorine pollution. Chlorinated water may disturb healthy bacterial growth and harm beneficial microorganisms. It can also prevent nutrient uptake essential to the growth of the plant, as well as alter pH levels.
Did you know that very low levels of chlorine is poisonous to fish?
How can I make sure my pool and/or spa is not harming the environment?
About Septic System
Why? Your septic system could be leaching contaminants such as bacteria, viruses, nitrates, phosphates, chlorides, and organic compounds such as trichloroethylene into the ground water and environment. These contaminants will end up in our creeks, streams and Lake Wylie.
Did you know that one-fourth of U.S. homes are using septic systems and that more than 4 billion gallons of wastewater per day are dispersed below the ground's surface?
What should I be doing if I have a septic system?
- Inspect your septic system annually.
- Pump out your septic system regularly. (Pumping out every three to five years is recommended for a three-bedroom house with a 1,000-gallon tank; smaller tanks should be pumped more often.
- Do not divert storm drains or basement pumps into septic systems.
- Reduce the use of your garbage disposal. (Garbage disposals contribute unnecessary solids to your septic system and can also increase the frequency your tank needs to be pumped.)
- Don't use toilets as trash cans! Excess solids can clog your drain field and require more frequent pumping.
The Do's & Don'ts of Car Washing & Vehicle Maintenance
Don't wash your car in your driveway or street!
Why? The dirty water from washing your car may contain things like soap, residue from exhaust, gasoline, heavy metals from rust, motor oil, asphalt and will flow directly from your driveway into the storm sewers. These storm sewers drain directly into local creeks, rivers and Lake Wylie. All of these contaminates will degrade water quality and impact the overall health of the aquatic habitats.
Did you know that local car wash fundraisers can be a significant source of local water pollution because they take place in heavily paved areas where the water drains directly into the local storm system and then into the local stream and lakes.
Did you know that the average homeowners use 116 gallons of water to wash a car, while the average commercial car wash uses 60% less and they are required to have catch basins and the waste water enters the sanitary sewer system not the storm drain system?
Is soap really that bad? Soaps have chemicals in them called "phosphates." The phosphates are great for cleaning your car but not good for lakes and stream. Phosphates are the key ingredient in many fertilizers. High levels of phosphates can lead to algae blooms. Algae looks bad, smells bad and too much algae can remove the oxygen from the water that the plants and animals need. Also, the soaps can remove the slimy protective layer on fish making them prone to disease.
Do Use a commercial car wash
If you must wash your car at home, please use the following storm water friendly tips:
- Wash your car on a grassy area so the ground can filter the water.
- Use a bucket
- Use special "phosphate free" biodegradable soap. Use as little soap as possible.
- Dump your bucket in a sink not down the drain or in a grassy area.
- Use a trigger spray nozzle to control water flow to reduce water consumption.
- Don't dump any automotive fluids or parts down the storm drain.
- Don't clean-up leaks and spills by rinsing with a hose.
Did you know that dumping motor oil, brake dust, sanding waste, filter residue, paints and other automotive fluids can result in severe penalties from your local officials?
What Should I Do?
- Recycle used oil and other automotive fluids at participating stations or auto parts stores.
- Check your cars, boats, motorcycles, lawn mowers and other equipment for leaks and spills. Make repairs as soon as possible.
- Clean any spills with absorbent materials, such as, kitty litter or sand, and properly dispose the absorbent materials.