PHONE: 610-284-1606

Stormwater Management Tips

June 2016

Planning and planting sustainable yards and gardens will help homeowners reduce the usual yard waste while also preventing stormwater runoff. See the Principles of Sustainable Landscaping for more information. One thing common to all sustainable landscaping plans is the use of native plants and trees.

Landscaping Network.com offers many valuable suggestions for planning and maintaining sustainable yards and gardens. There is information for small areas and container gardening as well as for larger yards.

The Pennsylvania Native Plant Society is a good source for finding places to purchase native plants throughout the state.

The University of Connecticut has a large plant data base for help in choosing appropriate native plants to meet your landscaping needs.

Redbud Native Plant Nursery
643 W. Baltimore Avenue
Media, PA 19063

Yellow Springs Farm
1165 Yellow Springs Road
Chester Springs, PA 19425

May 2016

According to the EPA, homeowners apply 10 times more pesticides per acre than the average farmer applies! It is best to eliminate or minimize the use of chemical pesticides. While killing harmful , the chemicals also kill beneficial insects like praying mantises and ladybugs. If you feel you must use pesticides around your home, read the label carefully, follow directions exactly, and spot spray where ever possible. Always wear protective clothing and dispose of any excess material at a hazardous waste drop-off.

There are many recipes for natural homemade pesticides. When using any of them in your gardens, apply sparingly and never in the hot sun. Some of the more popular ones are shown below.

Spider repellent: mix 1 tablespoon of lemon oil with one quart of water in a spray bottle, and uses as needed in areas where spiders are a concern. A dishpan of hot soapy water (Ajax or Dawn dish soap are suggested) can be poured around the outside of your home, or porches or in garages to form a barrier. This should last several weeks or months.

Garden pests: mix 1 TBSP vegetable oil, 1 tsp liquid dish detergent and 2 cups of water in a spray bottle and shake to mix. Spray your plants lightly every 7 days as a preventative measure or more frequently if there is already a pest problem.

Diatomaceous Earth is an all-natural solution for insects of all kinds. It can be sprinkled on top of the soil around plants and shrubs. It is also safe to use indoors for ants and roaches. It can be purchased in garden centers or on Amazon.


April 2016

32nd Annual Darby/Cobbs Watershed-Wide Cleanup Darby Creek Valley Association

April 23, 2016, from 9:00 am-12:00 pm for most sites.
Volunteers will be working together to pick up trash and whatever else is polluting our watersheds. In the past, various items, including trash, tires, shopping carts, wrecked bikes, and appliances have been collected. Each area has a team captain and their name and phone number is listed next to the location they will supervise. You can also contact David Bennett, the Chair of the 2016 cleanup at 610-626-1344 or dster21@comcast.net.

Darby:
Bartram Park, above and below – John & Jan Haigis
Trolley Bridge/Springfield Road – (610) 583-0788 both sites

Lansdowne:
Hoffman PK/meet at Bonnie’s Wondergarden – Vanessa Bullock (484) 410-4831
Hoffman PK/meet at Bonnie’s Wonder Garden – Bonnie McShane (610) 259-1733
Marlyn Park – Dale Blair (484) 844-7363

Yeadon:
Cobbs Creek Park/65th & Chester – Roy Hunter (610)284-1606 ext. 149

These are the locations that are closest to home. For more locations, please visit www.DCVA.org


March 2016

Get your lawn mower ready for the busy season ahead by checking filters and spark plugs and sharpening the blade. Consider raising the blade to cut at a height of 4″. Studies show that mowing at this height prevents the growth of crabgrass as effectively as a chemical herbicide.

Test your soil in the spring to determine what nutrients, if any, are needed to be added to the soil. Testing saves time, money and the environment by preventing over application of chemicals. Kits can be purchased for $9-$12 from the Penn State Extension’s Delaware County Office. Call 610-690-2655 or email Delawareext@psu.edu

Before the first mowing, lightly rake the lawn to remove compacted grass and mold caused by the excess moisture from winter weather. The first clippings can be used to start a compost pile. After that, grass clippings should be left on the lawn as nature’s fertilizer.


February 2016

Stormwater pollution is a year-round concern. We may use sand and salt to manage the snow and ice in the winter, but after the ice and snow melt, the remaining materials get into our storm sewers and into our waterways and pose a threat to the health of our streams.

Shovel early and frequently to keep sidewalks and driveways clear, which can help prevent ice from forming. Salt and de-icers are not effective when more than 3 inches of snow has accumulated or when temperatures are below 15 degrees Fahrenheit. Reduce the use of these items by using sand or kitty litter for traction. After the storm, remember to sweep up the sand and kitty litter to prevent them from entering our waterways with the snow melt.


January 2016

The City of Dallas reports they have 70,000 storm inlets and it costs them $3.3M to clean them when they are clogged with trash and yard waste. This is just the surface cleaning: vacuum cleaning of the inlets would raise the cost exponentially. We have approximately 215 inlets which would require an equivalent cost of $11,865 to clear surface debris once per year. This is approximately $50/inlet each time it gets cleared.

Inlets get blocked with trash, yard waste, and leaves, more than once per year. It is a municipal responsibility to keep the inlets clean both inside the boxes and on the surface. This is a significant effort and one which could be assisted by local residents. If you notice debris on the surface of an inlet, please volunteer to clear it. Dispose of the debris with your regular trash waste.


December 2015

The emphasis on improving the stormwater discharges and industrial waste discharges to the waters of the nation is justified when we hear statistics such as these. The future of human and aquatic life are both adversely impacted by the current condition of our streams. Why must we continue to advocate for storm water management?
Based on data collected in 2010, the Schuylkill River ranked as the third most polluted waterway in the state for cumulative toxic discharges, and ranked 49th in the nation.

“Potential health effects of these chemicals are fetal death, clef-lip and palate and heart abnormalities, as well as neurological, hormonal and immune system problems,” according to the report.

Overall, the 49,123 miles of Pennsylvania waterways rank seventh worst in the nation for toxic pollution and the Delaware River, which is fed by the Schuylkill, ranks fifth in the nation for total toxic discharges as a result of the 2.6 million pounds that were discharged in 2010.


November 2015

Medications should not be flushed down the toilet. Remnants of medications have been found in rivers, lakes, and streams.
It’s not just old pills that cause drugs to build up in the waterways, though. The buildup of prescription drugs in the environment is mainly due to the fact that our bodies don’t process all of the ingredients, so they often enter the water system when we go to the bathroom.

But flushing the meds directly can add to the buildup, too.

Birth control pills in the water system have been linked to feminizing fish, antidepressants meds have been found concentrated in fish brains, and antibiotics can kill aquatic organisms like algae.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, is concerned about reports of fish abnormalities possibly caused by improperly disposed prescription medications.

So how should you dispose of your leftover or expired medications?

The best option, according to the US Food and Drug Administration, is to bring them to a community take-back program. Many police stations and pharmacies are designated drop-off sites. You can use these tools to find law enforcement agencies or pharmacies that will dispose of medication near you.

If you can’t find one of those, you legally can dispose of medicines in the trash. But the FDA recommends first combining them with an undesirable substance like coffee grounds or kitty litter so children or pets don’t eat them, putting them in a plastic bag to prevent leakage, and destroying your name on prescription drug containers to protect your identity.
But throwing medications away should really be a last resort, for the environment’s sake.


October 2015

We are now officially in autumn and leaves have started to fall. It is very important that leaves are kept from entering the Borough’s stormsewer system as they clog the surface of the inlets which causes localized flooding. The inlets are the curb openings with or without grate tops that collect stormwater from the roadways. These inlets are connected with piping beneath the ground and then ultimately discharge into a body of water. Decaying leaves use up the water’s oxygen, harming aquatic inhabitants.

What to do with leaves?
Rake It! Follow Borough guidelines for curb-side pick-up. If you are supposed to put leaves in the street, wait until just before the collection day to move them from the lawn to the street.

Leave It! Mulch leaves by running over them with your lawn mower when you cut your lawn. Leaves and grass clippings are good fertilizers for your lawn.
Or… rake it and leave it! Rake leaves into a compost pile for a nutrient-rich fertilizer to use on your garden next spring.
And, if you live near an inlet, consider removing debris from an inlet grate. Dispose of the debris in your regular trash. Your neighbors thank you, and the creatures of the sea thank you!


September 2015

At the end of the summer season, there may be bare spots on your lawn. Please vegetate these areas so the bare soil cannot run-off in the rain to the streets. This sediment is one of the primary pollutants reaching the Darby Creek. And, a reminder, that if you fertilize your lawn, September to mid-October is the best time.


August 2015

Low Impact Development is a comprehensive land planning and engineering design approach with a goal of maintaining and enhancing the pre-development hydrologic regime of urban and developing watersheds. LID addresses stormwater through small, cost-effective landscape features located at the lot level.

These include basic subdivision and infrastructure design features such as reducing the use of pipes, ponds, curbs and gutters; maintaining recharge areas, buffer zones, and drainage courses; using infiltration swales, grading strategies, and open drainage systems; reducing impervious surfaces and disconnecting those that must be used; and conserving open space. Rain gardens and use of rain barrels are both forms of LID.

The Borough’s MS4 permit requires the Borough to ensure that LID is promoted through ordinance.


July 2015

Consider creating a container garden (a collection of one or many plants in containers) and placing them on your sidewalk, parking areas, back yards, rooftops and other impervious areas.

Why Create a Container Garden?

  • Container gardens are an attractive addition to any deck or patio, developing a green outdoor oasis.
  • Container gardens offer a pervious space to capture rainfall that would otherwise end up in our storm sewers and local waterways.

How to Create a Container Garden

  • Purchase or build planters (containers).
  • Drill holes in the bottom of the containers if they are not already there. (Planters must contain holes in their base or an overflow mechanism so the plants do not drown during rain storms.)
  • Choose native drought and saturation-tolerant plants and trees for low maintenance and minimal watering.
  • Fill the planter with soil to 2 inches below the top of the planter.
  • Use a mix of soil appropriate to the plant. Ornamental and native plants will thrive in potting soil or topsoil, whereas vegetable plants and herbs require a mix of potting soil and compost/organic matter.
  • If you re-plant annually, turn or till the soil once a year to improve infiltration.
  • Place container plants along the perimeter of a home or building to catch stormwater runoff from the roof and reduce watering needs.

June 2015

Fertilizer runoff is a serious culprit when it comes to stormwater pollution. If you are using commercial fertilizer on your lawn, make sure that you don’t apply it when heavy rain is in the forecast, as a heavy rain will wash the fertilizer onto streets and sidewalks and eventually it will flow into the storm drain and from there into our streams, creeks, and rivers. Fertilizer can cause algal blooms, which kill fish and wildlife.

You can fertilizer your lawn by leaving grass clippings on your lawn instead of bagging them. The clippings will quickly break down and add nitrogen to your soil.
For good lawn health, set your lawnmower blades high (at least 3 inches) and mow regularly, so you’re cutting off only about one-third of the plant. Get your lawn mower blades sharpened regularly so they actually cut the grass, not tear it out. These steps will improve the health of your lawn and lessen the need to apply fertilizer.


May 2015

Make Yourself a Rain Barrel! During the most common rain event, where 1 inch of rain falls, the roof of a house may drain over 600 gallons of water across the shingles, into the gutters and down through the downspouts. This stormwater is often discharged onto an impervious material, i.e., concrete , asphalt, or a stone bed. An alternate and preferred method would be to discharge the water from the downspouts to a rain barrel.

Rain barrels help reduce the volume of runoff that reaches an impervious surface by storing it for later watering purposes or for release during times when the ground is not saturated. By capturing this water and releasing it when it is not raining, the amount of water directly entering local streams through runoff can be greatly reduced. It also provides for the first flush cleaning of the pollutants that are within the first inch of rainfall falling from a roof.

You can learn to make a rain barrel by attending a free workshop on Sunday, May 17 from 2-4 pm at Media Borough Hall. Register online at crcwatersheds.org.


April 2015

The Darby Creek Valley Association’s annual Stream Cleanup Event is scheduled for April 25, 2015, from 9am to Noon at scores of locations along the Darby Creek and at the John Heinz Wildlife Refuge. Come out and join other volunteers pulling tires, plastic bottles, cans, and other trash from the Darby Creek. Clean water starts with you! Yeadon residents who wish to volunteer should meet at Cobbs Creek at 65th and Chester Aves. For more information, contact Yeadon Borough Hall at 610-284-1606. Gloves and other supplies will be provided at the site.


March 2015

Be tree-friendly! With Spring almost around the corner, now is a good time to think about improvements to your property. One of the best things you can do to increase the value of your property is to plant a tree. Planting trees also improves stormwater quality. Tree leaves help slow rain as it falls to the ground, thus increasing water absorption. Leaf litter on the ground also slows stormwater runoff and keeps the soil surface looser, so more water can be absorbed rather than run off. Tree roots hold soil, preventing sediment from washing away with stormwater. And, trees cycle water from the land to the atmosphere through evapotranspiration (the transfer of moisture from the earth to the atmosphere by evaporation of water and transpiration from plants). One large tree can absorb up to 100 gallons of water and discharge it into the air in a day. One large tree can provide a day’s supply of oxygen for up to four people.


February 2015

On Sunday, March 8, 2:00 pm, there will be a lecture and discussion on “Sustainable Landscape Management for Landowners.” The lecture will discuss best practices for the design and everyday maintenance of your landscape. The event will be held at Penn State’s Brandywine Campus. It is sponsored by the Chester Ridley Crum Watershed and Penn State and is free and open to all.

On Saturday, April 25, the Darby Creek Valley Association will be holding its annual stream cleanup event at various locations along Darby Creek. Residents are encouraged to participate in this important event. More details will be available on the DCVA’s website.

IF we get any of the threatened snow…

Shoveling snow soon after it falls is the best way to prevent ice from forming on sidewalks. If you have to use a deicing product, avoid products that contain sodium chloride, which can be toxic in waterways, and use sparingly. Calcium chloride is a safer alternative for melting ice, as is a product called Safe Paw.


January 2015

Let’s make 2015 a non-toxic new year! If you don’t have any resolutions in mind this January, consider this one: Don’t pour it out!

We’re talking about toxic chemicals, such as drain and oven cleaners, paint, and paint thinner, to name only a few. Never, ever pour these liquids into a storm drain or onto the ground or down a household drain or toilet, where they can find their way into our rivers and streams. If you have household chemicals to dispose of, take them to one of the County’s hazardous waste collection events. The next collection event is scheduled for Saturday, April 25, from 9am to 3 pm at the Emergency Services Training Center located at 1600 Calcon Hook Road in Sharon Hill. You can find out when other events are being held by calling the Delaware County Recycling Office at 610-892-9627.

An easy way to reduce the number of chemicals that you have to dispose of is to try to use non-hazardous products when you can. Lemon juice, vinegar, hot water, borax, soap, and baking soda are good alternatives, and there are many recipes online.

Our favorite is this all-purpose cleaner that you can prepare and use by adding to a spray bottle: ½ cup vinegar and ¼ cup baking soda mixed into ½ gallon of water. You also might find that these non-toxic cleaners are not only easier on local waters but also are easier on your wallet.


December 2014

Did you know that Americans are responsible for 180 million gallons of used motor oil escaping into our waterways each year? Even relatively small leaks from improperly maintained vehicles are collectively polluting our creeks, drinking water, and estuaries. Oil-contaminated runoff makes its way from roads and driveways into storm drains and ultimately our streams. Please do your part by checking your cars and equipment regularly for leaks and have them fixed promptly. Check to see if there are fresh oil stains on your driveway in the area where you park your car – that’s a sure sign of an oil leak. If you change your car’s oil yourself, use a drip pan and bring the used motor oil to a used motor oil drop-off location. Clean up any oil spills you find with absorbent material, then sweep. Do not hose the area.


November 2014

Here are some recipes that are more environmentally friendly household cleaners:
Dishwasher Detergent
2 tablespoons baking soda
2 tablespoons borax

Mix baking soda and borax and put mixture in dishwasher.

Window Cleaner
Option 1:
Juice from one fresh lemon
2 cups water or club soda
½ teaspoon peppermint essential oil (optional)
1 teaspoon cornstarch

Mix all ingredients and pour into plastic spray bottle. Shake well.

Option 2:
8 parts water
1 part vinegar

Mix ingredients, scrub and wipe with newspaper.

Drain Cleaner/Opener
¼ cup vinegar
¼ cup baking soda

Mix ingredients and pour mixture down drain. Let stand for a few minutes and rinse with boiling water.

Oven Cleaner
Mix equal parts of castille soap, borax and water. Apply
mixture, let set for 20 minutes. Scrub with mixture of baking soda and salt.


October 2014

Fall is often the time that homeowners fertilize their lawn. Fertilizers are among the many common stormwater pollutants that can degrade water quality. Though fertilizers contain chemicals that are good for lawns and plants when used properly, excessive amounts applied to lawns and gardens wash off and pollute streams.

Fertilizers are made of nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus. When it rains, these nutrients are carried by stormwater into the nearest stream, river, or other water body. Too many nutrients in water can cause algae to grow, which uses up the oxygen in the water. Low levels of oxygen in water can hurt aquatic wildlife and even lead to fish kills.

Water pollution problems from fertilizers can be diminished by following these guidelines:

  1. Use fertilizers sparingly. When use is necessary, use these chemicals in the recommended amounts. Read the label. More application does not mean a greener lawn – it means more watering and mowing.
  2. Water the lawn with about 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch of water after a fertilizer application. This helps move the fertilizer into the soil and reduces the potential of being lost in stormwater runoff.
  3. Never apply fertilizers if a heavy rain is anticipated.
  4. If you spill fertilizers, sweep them up;, do not hose or sweep them into the streets and storm drains.

September 2014

If you fertilize your lawn once a year, September to mid-October is the best time to do so.
September usually brings cooler temperatures and more rain, and it is a time when weeds are dying back. For the greatest benefit to your lawn, be sure to use a “slow release” fertilizer. This long-lasting type of nutrient also is more likely to stay in the root zone rather than washing off the lawn and into the street and down the storm drain during the next rainstorm.

Here are a few other tips to minimize the effect that fertilizers have on our water resources:

  • If you’ve been in the habit of fertilizing more than once, consider cutting back and fertilizing just in September.
  • More is not better! Use only the amount directed.
  • Check the weather forecast, and don’t apply fertilizer when heavy rain is predicted.
  • Clean up any spills by sweeping the product back onto the lawn. Never sweep fertilizer toward a paved surface or a stormdrain!

August 2014

August often is the time of year when rainfall is scarce and we are tempted to go water lawns if it hasn’t rained for a while. Remember that most established lawns are happy with one inch of water per week, including rainfall, so chances are that your lawn will be just fine without extra water. But if you must water, here are some tips for watering without waste.

  • If you are using a sprinkler, adjust the sprinkler so that it is doesn’t water paved surfaces.
  • Don’t water in the heat of the day. Watering early in the morning or in the evening minimizes the water lost to evaporation.
  • Consider using slow-watering techniques such as drip irrigation or soaker hoses. They are considerably more effective than sprinklers at getting the water where it’s supposed to go.
  • Don’t use your hose to clean off your driveway or sidewalk. Most of the water from such flushings ends up flowing down the street where it picks up pollutants before entering a storm drain. The polluted water eventually makes its way — untreated — into our streams, creeks, and rivers. Broom-sweeping is the appropriate method for cleaning sidewalks, driveways, and roadways for both property owners and occupants, and contractors.

July 2014

When mowing your lawn, make certain that you do not blow grass clippings onto the street. If there are grass clippings on the street or sidewalk, use a broom or leaf blower to blow them back onto the lawn. There is a benefit to leaving grass clippings on the lawn. As they decompose, grass clippings help to fertilize the lawn. Grass clippings that are blown onto the street eventually enter the street storm drain and from there enter our streams, creeks, and rivers, where they release nutrients that cause unwanted and uncontrolled growth of algae and aquatic weeds in our waterways.


June 2014

The month of June signals the end of the school year and the start of the official beach season. Many in our community spend at least some time at the beach. Unfortunately, there are times when a trip to the beach is marred by a beach closure. The most common reason that beaches are closed in the summer is the presence of higher-than-normal levels of bacteria, which can be caused by many factors. One of those factors is stormwater pollution.

When stormwater hits the pavement, it picks up and mixes with what’s there. That might include:

  • oil, grease, and automotive fluids;
  • fertilizer and pesticides from gardens and homes;
  • bacteria from pet waste and improperly maintained septic systems;
  • soap from car washing;
  • debris and litter.

Many people assume that stormwater flows down storm drains and then to a treatment facility. That is not the case. Stormwater flows into storm drains and then flows directly into local waters, including the ocean. Do your part to prevent stormwater pollution. Do not put anything down a storm drain; clean up after your pet; take your car to a car wash instead of washing at home; and minimize use of fertilizers and pesticides.


May 2014

Heavy rains can send litter, tree branches, and other debris flowing down our streets and onto the grates that cover storm drain inlets. This can cause stormwater to back up onto streets and sidewalks. While the Borough’s Public Works crew regularly cleans the storm drain inlets, it can be a challenge for them to keep up when there is one storm event after another.

If there is a storm inlet near your property, keep an eye on it. If it is clogged with debris, you can lend a helping hand by removing the debris and placing it in the trash. Never dispose of litter or debris by putting it down a storm drain. Remember, storm drains are for stormwater only.


April 2014

On Saturday, April 26, from 9 am to Noon, the Darby Creek Valley Association will be holding its annual Stream Cleanup Event at local sites along the Darby Creek. Volunteers are needed to gather and remove natural and man-made debris from the creek and its banks. This is a great opportunity to have some fun and to enjoy a good feeling of accomplishment from removing winter’s debris and welcoming the onset of Spring. Families are encouraged to participate.

More information on the event and how to sign up to volunteer is available at the Darby Creek Valley Association’s website at www.dvca.org


March 2014

Always clean up after your dog. Dog poop that is not picked up but left on the ground eventually is washed into the storm sewer system, where it makes its way into our streams, rivers, and oceans. Pet waste can be disposed of in a non-leaking trash receptacle or flushed down a toilet. If you are caught not picking up after your dog, you face a fine as high as $200 for a first violation and up to $1000 for three or more violations.


February 2014

Last month’s stormwater tip recommended that homeowners consider using cracked corn on icy walkways to prevent slipping instead of using kitty litter, sand, or gravel, which can wash into storm drains. Cracked corn had been suggested as a better alternative because birds and animals would eat it before it could wash into the storm sewers in the spring. However, we have been advised that cracked corn attracts mice, so we no longer recommend its use.

We have since learned of a salt-free ice-melting product called Safe Paw™ that works to quickly melt ice and that also contains a traction agent to help prevent slips and falls.

Because it does not contain salt, the product also is guaranteed safe for pets, children, and the environment. Safe Paw™ claims to have another advantage: it attracts solar heat to provide extra melting power during daylight hours. Safe Paw™ can be purchased at Shop Rite, Sam’s Club, COSTCO, and some pet stores. For more information on this product, go to www.safepaw.com.


January 2014

Winter is here, bringing with it ice and snow. To help prevent slipping on icy walkways, homeowners often sprinkle sand, kitty litter, and ashes on icy walkways. However, these materials can hurt vegetation, clog sewers, and degrade aquatic habitats if they are washed into our storm sewers. Cracked corn has been suggested as a better solution because birds and animals can eat it before it gets washed into the storm sewers in the spring. In our area, cracked corn can be purchased at The Home Depot.


Fall Means Falling Leaves

With the arrival of fall, falling leaves and grass clippings left in the streets can cause stormwater pollution.  To help prevent this pollution, clean up all leaves and grass from the streets and storms drains along your property.  The waste from their decomposition can eventually get into the storm drains, making their way into the streams and rivers where they can rob aquatic life of oxygen.


Keep Water Clean

Oil and water don’t mix. Just one pint of oil can create a slick larger than a football field. Motor oil takes a long time
to break down in water and sticks to everything from beach sand to bird feathers and fish gills. It is toxic to people,
wildlife and plants. Even small leaks from improperly maintained vehicles are collectively polluting our creeks and
drinking water.

Did you know that just one gallon of oil can contaminate one million gallons of drinking water? Oil-contaminated runoff makes its way from roads and driveways into storm drains and ultimately our streams. Americans are responsible for 180 million gallons of used motor oil escaping into our waterways each year!

Learn more about how oil and water don’t mix in this printable PDF file.


Keep Stormwater Drains Clear

The Stormwater system is not designed to remove pollutants from water; it was designed to convey rainwater and snow melt directly to creeks or larger bodies of water. Never dump litter, leaves, animal waste or oil or any other contaminants into stormwater drains. It is a violation of Federal Clean Water Act and citiations will be issued for non compliance.
Report an Illicit Discharge!


Mind Your Grease

Never pour kitchen grease down the drain. Grease hardens and acts to reduce the pipe capacity. This can quickly cause blockages in sanitary sewer laterals (the pipes that carry the sewage from your house out to the street) and street sewer mains. When a sewer line backs up, it often causes an overflow onto the street, dumping raw sewage onto the street where it can ultimately flow into stormwater drains. Storm drains are not connected to a treatment system, so everything that flows down the storm drain goes, untreated, directly to the nearest body of water. This is a violation of federal law.

If you have grease left over from cooking bacon or other fatty foods, let the grease cool down until it solidifies. At this point you can dispose of the grease in your regular trash. If you need to get rid of the hot grease immediately, pour it into a metal can or heat-resistant glass container to cool down or put it in the refrigerator to solidify more quickly. Be sure to wipe the grease from frying pans and cooking utensils so that no grease goes down the drain when you are washing dishes. Another good reason not to pour grease down your sink – property owners are responsible for replacement of laterals when there is a problem and it can be extremely costly – thousands of dollars!


Raise Those Blades

The simple act of raising your lawnmower’s cutting height can improve the health of your lawn, which in turn will absorb more water and thus reduce stormwater runoff. Cutting no more than the top one-third of each blade of grass encourages roots to grow deeper into the soil where they will absorb more water and nutrients. Your lawn will require less watering and fertilization and it will fight off weeds naturally, reducing the need for pesticides.

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