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How to Prevent Water Pollution

To prevent water pollution caused by stormwater runoff in both urban and suburban areas:

  • Do not dump oil and unused household chemicals down storm drains. Instead, dispose of them properly at household hazardous waste drop-off events.
  • Minimize the use of lawn fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides. Also, do not use them when rain is forecasted within 24 hours of their application.
  • Landscape your property to detain and infiltrate runoff from rooftops, sidewalks, and patios.
  • Install a rain barrel or cistern to detain rooftop runoff. Drain it slowly via a soaker hose into flowerbeds or into a storm sewer.

You can also work with your local community to:

  • Adopt ordinances that require stormwater runoff to be infiltrated or detained from new or redeveloped areas.
  • Adopt and enforce erosion and sedimentation control measures to prevent runoff impacts from new construction.
  • Create incentives to encourage businesses, schools, and owners of large impervious areas to employ techniques to reduce runoff discharge to local streams.
  • Preserve and enhance open space along stream corridors to create riparian buffers that will keep the streambank stable and prevent erosion.

In agricultural areas, you may reduce runoff by:

  • Creating and preserving riparian buffers along streams to filter runoff from crop fields and livestock areas.
  • Employing streambank fencing to keep cattle from accessing streambank areas and providing alternative water sources away from the stream.
  • Managing manure to eliminate runoff into streams and the groundwater.
  • Employing no-till and low-till crop growth options.

Reducing runoff from agriculture should involve an incentive plan or follow a conservation plan for the farm.