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DID YOU KNOW? Storm drains carry dog poop, lawn chemicals, oily spills and other trash into our local water supply. Completely separate from the sewer system that leads to a treatment plant, storm drain systems include gutters, pipes, ditches and drainage ways that transport water directly to local streams, rivers or lakes.​

Homeowners can help protect the health of our streams by managing the quality and quantity of rainwater that flows off their property.

  • Plant native trees and plants; remove invasive plant species.​
  • Sweep patios, driveways and other paved areas rather than hose them off. Bag or compost debris, don’t sweep it into the street.​
  • Dispose of yard and lawn trimmings properly such as composting, recycling or yard debris pick-up.​
  • Collect roof runoff in a rain barrel to use for watering plants and gardens.​
  • Make sure wastewater from washing the exterior of your home or roof is not discharged into the street. Infiltrate it directly into the grass or gravel.​
  • Install permeable surfaces for sidewalks, patios and driveways.​
  • Install a rain garden. Many localities offer a monetary credit or other financial incentive to homeowners interested in installing a rain garden.​
  • Disconnect your roof downspout and direct the water into a grassy area, permeable pavement, or rain garden instead of into the storm drain.
  • Scoop doggy poop!
  • Reduce fertilizer, herbicides and pesticide use. Consider using organic fertilizers; they release nutrients more slowly.​
  • Take your vehicle to a commercial car wash that treats and recycles water. If you are washing your car at home, use a bucket instead of a hose.​
  • Recycle used motor oil. Many auto supply stores, car care centers, and gas stations will accept used oil. Do not pour liquid waste down floor drains, sinks or storm drains.​
  • During winter storms apply de-icing products discriminately, focusing on high use areas and slopes where traction is critical.

Visit your locality to learn more about actions you can take at home:

District of Columbia: D.C. Clean Rivers Project

Maryland: MD Water Conservation

Alexandria, VA: Stormwater Management

Arlington, VA: Stormwater at Home

Fairfax County, VA: Stormwater Management

Loudoun County, VA: Clean Waters Initiative

Prince William County, VA:  Reduce Stormwater Runoff and Pollution

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