Excessive amounts of rain can harm more than just your summer plans. The heavy downpours that are commonplace with summer storms generate high levels of runoff, which flows into storm drains and ultimately empties into natural waterways. This fast-paced runoff is also more likely to pick up pollutants such as fertilizers and trash along the way, which also ends up in local creeks and rivers, posing a threat to water quality, and harming plants and wildlife.
How can we avoid those pollutants from entering streams and rivers? The Franklin County Soil and Water Conservation District has some great tips on the simple steps we can all take to keep unwanted materials out of storm drains:
- Fix leaks on any cars, lawnmowers or other equipment and clean up fuel spills.
- Sweep up any grass clippings or lawn fertilizer that spills onto your drive or sidewalks.
- Be sure to pick up any trash on or near your property.
- Pick up pet waste regularly.
- Invest in rain barrels to catch runoff from your roof.
Rain barrels are a helpful tool when it comes to reducing runoff, but it’s important to make sure you use them properly—don’t just let the water collect, use it frequently to water plants in your garden so that the rain barrels can take in more runoff from your roof the next time it rains. This will result in savings on your water bill and natural rainwater is a healthier option for plants.
Do not dump waste or any other materials into storm drains—this activity is not only harmful to the environment, it is illegal. To report illegal dumping of materials, follow this link: http://www.itsacrime.org/report-littering.php