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Seasonal Pollution Solutions
Only Rain Down Storm Drains!
Stormwater runoff is a major pollutant of our rivers, lakes and the Chesapeake Bay. Because of this pollution, many of the local waterways in our region are not fit for fishing and swimming and have become an environmental hazard. Here are some things you can do throughout the year to help prevent pollution from getting into the stormwater drainage system. We also have helpful tips categorized by topic.
Spring Stormwater Tips
- Plant trees, shrubs and ground cover to help rainwater soak into the ground. Keep the soil covered; bare soil is the primary cause of erosion. Mulch bare areas with straw, grass clippings, stones or wood chips.
- Have soil tested for acidity (pH). Spread Lime if it is too acidic. It's best not to fertilize until Fall. Call the Chesapeake Extension Service at 757-382-6348 to get a soil test kit and more information.
- Consider growing clover in your lawn; it's hardy, stands up to wear and produces nitrogen needed by other lawn grasses.
Summer Stormwater Tip
- Know your grass! Different types of grasses require different methods of care. Cool-season grasses such as fescue, ryegrass and bluegrass should be mowed to 3 inches high. Warm-season grasses such as bermuda and zoysia should be mowed to 1-2 inches tall.
- Leave grass clippings on the lawn because they hold in moisture and are rich in nitrogen, making them a natural fertilizer. Only fertilize in the fall, and only if it is needed.
- Wash your car only when necessary and wash it over the grass rather than the driveway. The soil will serve as a natural filter to the soaps, chemicals, break dust and any leaking liquids from your car.
- Don't feed the geese and ducks - particularly around lakes and ponds. Lakes are vital to stormwater management and pet/duck waste, like fertilizers, pollute the water, causing algae blooms that rob the lake of oxygen and kill fish and other aquatic life.
- Scoop the poop! Be sure to pick up after your dog. Their waste is not natural - it is full of bacteria and excess nutrients that will create algae blooms and contaminate local waterways.
Fall Stormwater Tip
- Don't burn leaves in ditches or sweep them down storm drains. Burning in ditches causes erosion and allows pollution to wash downstream to our waterways. Even though leaves are natural, if too many of them flow into our waterways, they break down and release extra nutrients that create algae blooms and fish kills. Run over your leaves with your mower to create mulch - a natural fertilizer, just like grass clippings. If you have too many leaves, mulch them and till them into your garden. If you still have leaves left, rake them into clear plastic bags and put them at your curb for pickup. Rake the leaves and put them in clear plastic bags at curbside for pickup, or mulch and compost them for use in your garden.
- Fertilize your lawn only if needed. To save yourself time and money, first have your soil tested for acidity (pH) to determine the amount of fertilizer required. Call the Chesapeake Extension Service at 757-382-6348 to get a soil test kit and more information.
Winter Stormwater Tip
- As you're winterizing your vehicles, make sure to check for and fix fluid leaks. Even a small amount of oil that drips on the pavement can pollute thousands of gallons of water. Also make sure to properly dispose of antifreeze and never dump it on the ground or down a storm drain.
- Instead of using hard de-icing products in the event of freezing precipitation and snow, choose all natural ingredients over rock salt. Ask your local hardware store which products are eco-friendly and use sparingly.