As many are aware, storm water runoff from yards has the potential to wash debris, fertilizers, and other pollutants down drains and into our water sources. But few know about how we can limit that runoff, thereby helping to protect our precious streams, rivers, and ocean.

Here are a few tips on reducing storm water runoff from your yard, courtesy of the South Florida Water Management District:

  • Direct downspouts and gutters away from impermeable surfaces like driveways and sidewalks. Make sure they deposit excess water onto your lawn, into flower beds, or any other surface that will absorb it.
  • Create storm water troughs at the edges of your lawn to catch rainwater draining on to the sidewalk.
  • Use mulch, bricks, or gravel for surfaces like walkways and patios. This will allow rainwater to filter into the ground, instead of being washed into storm drains.
  • Mow high – by cutting your grass too low, you are exposing your lawn to weeds and pests, while also making it easier for excess fertilizer and other chemicals to seep onto impermeable surfaces.
  • Reduce or eliminate the use of fertilizers on your lawn. If you must use a fertilizer, use organic compost instead of chemical ones.
  • Sweep grass clippings and excess fertilizer onto your lawn, and off sidewalks and driveways.
  • Clean up chemical spills and motor oil from driveways. Cat litter is a good absorbent for these liquids!
  • Pick up pet waste and trash, so they also cannot be washed into storm drains. Pet waste carries bacteria that can seriously pollute the water supply.

If we all take these measures, it will go a long way toward keeping our storm drains free of dangerous chemicals and pollutants that have proven to cause major harm to our water sources.