How a property is maintained affects the waterways around it. When rain water flows over land or hard surfaces (parking lots, driveways, sidewalks, etc.) and does not seep into the ground, it carries pollutants such as bacteria, nutrients, metals, oil, debris, and chemicals into local waterways, affecting the cleanliness and health of the water that we rely on for drinking and recreation.
Take simple steps to reduce or eliminate the causes of polluted runoff, and minimize the risk of costly clean-ups.
- Dry sweep paved areas on a regular basis, especially around storm drains. This includes parking lots, patios, sidewalks & dumpster areas.
- Do NOT use a hose to wash down pavement.
- Collect and dispose of debris in waste containers. Do not sweep into the gutter or stormdrain.
- Cover dumpsters and keep them clean to avoid leaks.
- Schedule regular waste pick-ups.
- Never wash down dumpsters with a hose. If cleaning is needed, contact the leasing company.
- Check dumpsters regularly for leaks, and replace if necessary.
• Don’t pour wash water or chemicals down a stormdrain.
• Use a mop and bucket, and dispose of wash water down a mop sink, floor drain, or sanitary sewer (sink or toilet).
• Be sure to store all chemicals in appropriate containers that don’t leak.
• Any excess chemical spills, especially outdoors, should be swept up immediately.
• Use cleaning products that are non-toxic to vegetation and wildlife.
• Report any chemical spill to the local hazardous waste cleanup team. They’ll know the best way to keep spills from harming the environment.
• Use organic fertilizer whenever possible. Organic or slow-release nitrogen fertilizer causes less harm to water. Be sure to use fertilizer with no or low phosphorus—phosphorus causes algae growth in water.
• Limit the use of lawn chemicals and always follow directions.
• If you are having problems with your grass, don’t keep adding chemicals. Have your soil tested at the UMass Extension: http://extension.umass.edu/landscape/
• Use permeable materials, like pavers or crushed stone for any “hardscape” projects, such as patios or walkways. Permeable systems allow rain and snow melt to soak through the material, thereby decreasing stormwater runoff.
• Avoid irrigating when it’s windy.
• Make sure that sprinkler heads are pointed at the lawn and not the pavement – adjust and fix heads as necessary.
• Upgrade to a moisture sensor to ensure irrigating only when needed, and avoid using old-fashioned irrigation timers.
• Avoid over-salting in the winter, and sweep up any excess or spills.
• Store salt in a covered area.
• Use a product that is non-toxic to vegetation and wildlife.
• Do not dump snow into a body of water.