Can car or truck wastes be carried away by
Choose the answer that best describes how you
handle automotive wastes.
a. Oil drips and
fluid spills are cleaned up. Dirty car parts and other vehicle
wastes are kept from stormwater runoff.
b. Drips and
spills are not cleaned up. Car parts and other vehicle wastes are
left on unpaved areas outside.
oil, antifreeze, and other wastes are dumped down the storm drain,
in a ditch, or on the ground.
|Oil stains on your driveway and outdoor spills of
antifreeze, brake fluid, and other automotive fluids are easily
carried along the stormwater superhighway during a rainstorm. An
oily sheen on runoff from your driveway is a sure sign that you need
to be more careful. Pans, carpet scraps, and matting can catch
drips. Routine maintenance can prevent your car from
identify potential leaks. If you change your own oil, be careful to
avoid spills and collect waste oil for recycling.
Store oily car
parts and fluid containers where rain and runoff cannot reach them.
NEVER DUMP used oil, antifreeze, or gasoline down a storm
drain, in a ditch, or on the ground.
will end up in a nearby lake or stream, or they may pollute your
car in the driveway creates runoff without the help of a rainstorm -
your hose provides the water. The dirty, soapy runoff drains
directly into storm drains, picking up oil and other pollutants as
it goes. If possible, try washing your car on your lawn. Better yet,
take it to a commercial car wash that sends its dirty water to a
wastewater treatment plant.
1b. Choose the answer that best describes how you
wash your car.
a. Cars and
trucks are taken to a commercial car wash that sends its water to a
wastewater treatment plant.
b. Cars, trucks,
or other vehicles are washed on a lawn or gravel drive.
c. Cars, trucks,
or other vehicles are washed on a driveway, street, or other paved
|2. Do you
store household products outside the reach of
2. Choose the answer that
best describes how you store pesticides, fertilizers, and other
potentially harmful chemicals.
a. Chemicals are
stored in waterproof containers in a garage, shed, or basement that
is protected from stormwater.
b. Chemicals are
stored in waterproof containers but within reach of
c. Chemicals are
stored in non - waterproof containers outdoors or within reach of
|Most people have lawn and garden products like herbicides,
insecticides, fungicides, and fertilizers. If stormwater or
floodwater reaches these products, it can transport them into
surface waters and possibly your well. |
|Pool chemicals, salt for water softners, and a wide variety
of other chemical products are also troublesome pollutants if they
wash into stormwater runoff. Keeping such products in waterproof
containers and storing them up high and out of the potential path of
runoff or floods is important. You can avoid storage problems by
buying only as much of a product as you need for a particular task.
3. Do you
use and handle chemicals safely?
Safe storage is
only the first step in preventing contaminated runoff. Mix chemicals
within a washtub so spills will be contained. If you do spill
chemicals, act quickly to contain and clean up the spill. This is
particularly important on paved surfaces. Using more pesticides or
fertilizers than you need invites problems. Timing of applications
is also important. DO NOT apply lawn and garden chemicals if
rain is expected within 24 hours.
|3. Choose the answer that best describes how you
handle and use pesticides, fertilizers, and other lawn and garden
are cleaned up immediately, particularly on paved surfaces. Minimum
amounts of chemicals are applied according to label instructions.
Applications are timed to avoid rain.
b. Spills are
cleaned up immediately, particularly on paved surfaces. Minimum
amounts of chemicals are applied according to instructions.
Applications are NOT timed to avoid rain.
c. Spills are not
cleaned up. Products are used in higher amounts than is recommended
on the label.
4. How do
you keep animal wastes from becoming a pollution
Droppings from dogs, cats, and other commonly kept animals,
such as exotic birds, rabbits, goats, horses, and chickens, can be
troublesome in two ways. First, pet wastes
contain nutrients that can promote the growth of algae if wastes
enter streams, lakes, and estuaries. Second, animal droppings
contain bacteria that can cause disease. The risk of stormwater
contamination increases if pet wastes are allowed to accumulate in
animal pen areas or left on sidewalks, streets, driveways, or
drainage ways from which they can be carried along the stormwater
system to water bodies. Instead of allowing pet wastes to accumulate
or sending them to a landfill, consider flushing the wastes down the
toilet or burying them.
4. Choose the answer that
best describes how you handle pet and animal
a. Animal and pet
wastes are flushed down the toilet; buried away from rivers,streams,
ditches; or wrapped and placed in the garbage for
b. Animal wastes
are left to decompose on grass or soil. Wastes are scattered over a
c. Animal wastes
are left on paved surfaces, concentrated in pen or yard areas, or
dumped down a storm drain or in a ditch.
Do you keep yard and garden wastes out of
5. Choose the answer that
best describes how you handle grass clippings, leaves, and other
clippings, leaves, and other yard wastes are swept off paved
surfaces and onto lawns away from water flow routes. Leaves and
other yard wastes are composted.
and other yard wastes are piled on the lawn next to the street for
clippings, leaves, and other yards wastes are left on driveways,
streets, and other paved areas to be carried off by stormwater.
And/or yard waste is burned on - site.
If left on
sidewalks, driveways, or roads, grass clippings and other yard
wastes will wash away with the next storm. Although leaves and other
plant debris accumulate naturally in streams and lakes, homeowners
can contribute excess amounts of plant matter, especially in areas
with many homes. This can lead to water that is unattractive or
green with algae, potential fish kills, and make areas unsuitable
waste is not an environmentally friendly alternative - and in some
areas it's illegal. Hydrocarbons and nutrients released by burning
leaves contribute to water pollution as well as to air pollution.
Rain washes smoke particles out of the air, and runoff picks up dust
and ashes left on pavement or in ditches. Avoiding the problem is
easy: sweep clippings back onto the grass, and compost leaves and
garden wastes on you property to recycle nutrients.
there areas of bare soil around your home?
6a. Choose the answer that
best describes the bare soil in your lawn or garden.
a. Bare spots in
the lawn are promptly seeded and topped with a layer of straw or
mulch. Bare soil in gardens is covered with mulch.
b. Grass or other
ground cover is spotty, particularly on slopes.
c. Spots in the
lawn or garden are left exposed without mulch or vegetation for long
Areas of bare
soil often exist in vegetable and flower gardens, on newly seeded
lawns, and around construction projects. Even on gentle slopes,
water from rain and snow can remove large amounts of soil and carry
it to wetlands, lakes, streams, and estuaries. Planting grass or
other groundcovers is the best way to stop erosion. Putting a straw
or chip mulch over gardens or newly seeded areas will slow erosion.
Straw bales, diversion ditches, and commercially available silt
fences placed around construction sites can help slow runoff and
trap sediment on - site.
activities (clearing, grading, and/or excavation) can significantly
increase and accelerate erosion. To prevent erosion and sediment
from entering the storm drain system, exposed areas should be
stabilized as quickly as possible. Minimize disturbance and soil
exposure by retaining natural vegetation, adopt phased construction
techniques, and use temporary cover. Once grading activities are
completed, plant temporary/permanent vegetation or other erosion
control measures as soon as possible.
vegetated earthen dikes, pipes, or other stable drainage structures
to minimize erosion by diverting off-site runoff around or through
the construction site.
generated by runoff from cleared areas of the construction site
cannot be prevented, trap, and filter sediment to stop eroded soil
and debris from being carried off site. Place suitable barriers such
as sandbags, hay bales, or silt fences at the following
- Across large
areas of sheet flow, including graded streets, slopes and pad
- Around or
upstream of drainage collection points, such as drainage inlets,
catch basins and channel/swale junctions.
property or grading boundaries where runoff containing eroded
material can leave - or enter the site.
- Construct/grade sedimentation basins upstream of critical
locations, such as at storm drain catch basins, or where
concentrated flow leaves the site.
sediment trapping and filtering devices to accommodate upstream
runoff and sediment.
compacted earthen dikes to divert runoff or channel water
dikes with vegetation or physical devices.
trapping and filtering devices just before, during, and after each
rainfall event, and repair/replace where necessary
6b. Choose the answer that best describes how you handle
bare soil during construction.
a. Bare soil is
seeded and mulched as soon as possible (before construction is
completed). Sediment traps and filters are used until grass covers
b. Soil is left
bare until construction is completed. Sediment traps and filters are
installed and maintained to detain muddy runoff until grass covers
c. Soil is left
bare and no sediment traps or filters are used.
Can you eliminate paved surfaces or install
asphalt roads, driveways, and walkways are impervious; they prevent
rainwater from soaking into the ground. When you have the choice,
consider alternative materials such as gravel or wood chips for
walkways. Avoid paving areas like patios. Where you need a more
solid surface, consider using a "porous pavement" made from
interlocking cement blocks, hard plastic grids filled with stone or
earth, or rubber mats that allow spaces for rainwater to seep into
the ground. If you must pour concrete, keep the paved areas as small
and narrow as possible.
|7. Choose the answer
that best describes your use of paved
a. Paved surfaces
are minimized. Alternatives such as wood chips or paving blocks are
used for walkways, patios, and other areas.
b. Some small
areas are paved for patios or basketball.
c. Paved surfaces
are used extensively.
Does your roof water flow onto pavement or
roof, like pavement, concentrates rain water into stormwater runoff.
If downspouts from roof gutters empty onto grassy or natural areas,
the water will have a chance to soak into the ground. Aim downspouts
away from foundations and paved surfaces. For roofs without gutters,
plant grass, spread mulch, or use gravel under the drip line to
prevent soil erosion and increase infiltration of water into the
ground. Consider using cisterns or rain barrels to catch rain for
watering your lawn and garden in dry weather.
8. Chose the answer that
best describes how you handle roof drainage.
a. Downspouts and
drip lines direct roof drainage onto a lawn or garden where water
soaks into the ground.
downspouts and drip lines discharge water onto paved surfaces or
grassy areas where water runs off.
c. Most or all
drip lines or downspouts discharge onto paved surfaces, or
downspouts are connected directly to storm drains.
Can you change the layout of your landscape to reduce
part of stormwater management is keeping water on your property, or
at least slowing down its flow as much as possible. Many lawns are
sloped to encourage water to runoff onto neighboring property or
streets. An alternative approach is to create rain gardens
(described in the following section). If your yard is hilly, you can
terrace slopes to slow the flow of runoff. If you have a large lot,
consider "naturalizing" areas with woodland or wetland plants. If
your property adjoins a lake or stream, one of the best ways to slow
and filter runoff is to leave a buffer strip of thick vegetation
along the waterfront, which is called a riparian buffer.
|9. Choose the
answer that best describes how you use landscaping and buffer
|a. Yard is landscaped to slow the flow of
stormwater and utilize rain gardens. Unmowed buffer strips of thick
vegetation are left along streams or lake shores.
b. No areas are
landscaped to encourage water to soak in, but yard is relatively
flat and little runoff occurs. Mowed grass or spotty vegetation
exists adjacent to a stream or lake.
is no landscaping to slow the flow of stormwater, especially on
hilly, erodible properties. Stream banks or lake shores are
Are rain gardens appropriate?
can be diverted to localized low spots in your yard. These areas,
when planted with water-tolerant vegetation such as redbuds, st.
john's wort, cherrybark oak, and sweet pepperbush, are called rain
gardens. Rain gardens naturally filter water and provide an
effective means for putting surface water back into
Choose the answer that best describes how you
divert stormwater runoff.|
Stormwater is diverted to engineered rain gardens in low - lying
areas of your yard. Water is routed into and out of rain
b. Stormwater is
diverted to low areas without appropriate measures taken to make
sure water will leave the site.
c. Runoff leaves
the yard without any treatment.
|How did you do?
Chose answer a for 8 - 10 of the
Chose answer a for 5 - 7 of the
Room for Improvement
Chose answer a for 4 or less of the
REMINDER: If you chose answers b or c
for any question, you may be causing water pollution.