Preventing storm water pollution from entering your area’s water resources may require a greater effort. Activities such as utilizing a rain barrel to capture roof runoff or planting native plants to act as buffer between your yard and the street will help ensure that storm water will not travel over paved surfaces where it can collect and transport pollutants into the nearest storm drain inlet.
What You Can Do
Connect a rain barrel
A rain barrel captures rain that drains from your roof, preventing storm water from traveling over paved surfaces as well as over your lawn. This decreases the chance of transporting pollutants by rainwater into the nearest storm drain inlet. The captured water may be recycled for irrigating your garden or washing your car.
Disconnect and redirect downspouts
If practical, rerouting your home’s downspout into in a permeable area such as one with vegetation or a rain garden will help reduce or eliminate the runoff from your roof onto non-permeable surfaces which may contain chemicals and sediments harmful to water quality and marine life. Utilizing a splash pad, rocks, or a concrete block near the discharging area will act as a velocity dissipater and will help reduce erosion at that spot.
Use storm water for a container garden
Colorful plants and vegetables may be grown from a container box or garden that utilizes storm water runoff for irrigation. This is ideal for an urban setting with limited space as the containers can vary in size and material. Runoff can be discharged directly into the container or one can draw from captured water, such as from a rain barrel.
Plant trees or shrubs
Trees serve a number of benefits in our community as they are aesthetically appealing and provide shade. They also help prevent pollution from entering the storm drain system by capturing falling water and reducing the rate and force at which the water enters the soil, thus reducing soil erosion and runoff, both of which may flow over polluted paved surfaces and into a storm drain inlet. Shrubs prevent erosion in a similar manner.
Use native plants
Native plants thrive on natural rainfall and prevent soil erosion, as they tend to have an extensive root system that helps stabilize soil structure. Non-native plant species may rapidly spread in an area and choke out other plant species.
Allow a vegetated buffer to grow alongside waterways to filter and slow runoff
Storm water can easily carry soil into the nearest storm drain, especially off of an exposed, sloped area. A vegetated buffer will help trap the sediment, as well as other pollutants, and prevent it from traveling into the nearest storm drain inlet.