Every day, our creeks and rivers are threatened by pollution from storm water runnoff. As it rains, the water that drains into these water bodies and sewage systems can carry debris and pollutants, due to the inability to naturally soak through the ground. But there are many ways to reduce the hazardous effects of storm water runoff, from our homes to our workplaces. Here are a few ways to get started.

1. Get Rid of Pavement

Paved surfaces are the leading causes of storm water runoff, since the impervious surfaces allow water to run directly to sewage systems or riverbeds and creeks. By removing pavement from your driveway, you can free up more porous surfaces for water to naturally filter through, reducing the amount of pollutants that enter water sources. If you still want some pavement for the wheels of your car, consider removing the center of your driveway and leaving two strips of for the wheels. In the center, plant grass or place mulch to cover soil, giving water a place to runoff to and filter through.

If an area must be paved, used porous asphalt or permeable concrete to allow some water to sleep through the ground, thereby reducing a little runoff. Every little bit counts.

2. Plant a Rain Garden

Rain gardens are a great way to reduce runoff and provide a beautiful addition to a home or business place. Planted in a slight depression, rain gardens can quickly absorb large amounts of water, saving it from running off into other places.

3. Sweep Up

Sweeping up litter and debris from roads, sidewalks, parking lots and areas around storm drains help keep dangerous materials from river beds or sewage systems. Sponsoring clean ups of this sort can be a fun, community-based activity that is beneficial to all. You can check out resources like CreekLife for ideas and events in your area.

4. Clean Up Oil Spills and Leaks

Oil spills and leaks left on driveways or parking lots eventually get washed away during storms. These leaks can be cleaned up easily with cat litter. In addition, dispose of used auto fluids properly at recycling or drop-off centers.

5. Plant a Tree

Trees naturally absorb large amounts of water through their root system, while their canopies slow down the fall of rainwater, helping the ground absorb more water. Planting trees and taking care of existing ones around a home or business (if possible),  definitely decreases water runoff.

All these ways help prevent runoff and reduce pollutants that harm our water systems. Anyone can start with these ideas to create initiatives or fund projects that help stop storm water runoff, reducing pollution for the benefit of all.


Posted by Mark Contorno

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