Seven of these words or phrases are answers in the 2023 Earth Day “Top Stormwater Pollutants” crossword puzzle. Keep scrolling down to learn more about stormwater and how you can help keep our waterways clean!
Trash, Yard waste, Litter, Roof debris, Pesticides, Auto waste, Lawn debris, Sediment, Fertilizers, Herbicides, Pet waste, Household waste
Stormwater is water from rain or melting snow that does not soak into the ground. It flows from rooftops, over paved areas, bare soil, and sloped lawns. As it flows, stormwater runoff collects and transports animal waste, litter, salt, pesticides, fertilizers, oil & grease, soil and other potential pollutants.
Some of it is. The current city water collection system runs approximately with 78% of stormwater runoff combined with sewer flows to the wastewater treatment plant for treatment, then is released into the Wabash River. The other 22% of stormwater runoff drains directly to the river. This means some water that flows down driveways, streets, and outside areas into a storm sewer or ditch flows directly to nearby creeks, rivers, fish and wildlife habitats, downstream recreational areas, and drinking water supplies.
Common pollutants found in storm sewers and creeks include:
Motor oil, paint, household chemicals
Yard waste (leaves, grass clippings)
Fertilizers and pesticides
Soapy car wash water
Eroded sediment from construction projects
Community members are encouraged to participate in our “Adopt-A-Drain” initiative!
Remember: Only rain belongs in the drain!
Don't dump anything down storm drains. Be sure to clear away leaves and debris.
Wash cars over your lawn or gravel.
This allows the ground to neutralize the soap and grime from your car rather than sending it directly to waterways. Use biodegradable or non-toxic soap that is phosphate-free. You can also take cars to a commercial car wash where wastewater is either recycled or treated.
Keep your car well-maintained.
Fix any fluid leaks promptly and clean up any spills. Properly dispose of old motor oil.
Use lawn or garden chemicals sparingly.
Choose organic alternatives when possible and check the weather forecast to avoid applying them before a storm.
Mow lawns less often and rake up grass and leaves.
Try to keep your lawn at least 3" in height to minimize weed growth, reduce the need for watering, and decrease the likelihood of pests. Leaving the clippings on the lawn can also help block weeds and retain moisture. Sweep your sidewalks and driveway rather than hosing them down.
Minimize runoff by not over-watering your lawn and garden.
Keep sprinklers on a timer to avoid pooling water.
Bag up pet waste and dispose of it in the trash to prevent harmful bacteria from washing into local waterways.
Minimize the amount of ice-melt used.
Do not over-apply salt. Choose a more environmentally-friendly alternative when possible.
Consider minimizing impervious surfaces around your home.
Use bricks, gravel, cobbles, natural stone, or permeable pavers instead of asphalt or concrete when possible.
Keep septic system well-maintained to prevent leaks.
A leaking septic system can leach harmful bacteria into storm sewer systems and local waterways. It is important to keep your system well-maintained to prevent costly repairs.
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