Backyard Pollution Prevention
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Workshop Goals - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Backyard Pollution Prevention. Workshop Goals . To learn about stormwater runoff --- the most common pollutant of streams, rivers, and oceans. To learn what homeowners can do to reduce stormwater pollution and runoff. . Workshop Agenda. True/False Quiz Presentation Discussion Yard Tours

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Workshop Goals

  • To learn about stormwater runoff --- the most common pollutant of streams, rivers, and oceans.

  • To learn what homeowners can do to reduce stormwater pollution and runoff.

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Workshop Agenda

  • True/False Quiz

  • Presentation

  • Discussion

  • Yard Tours

  • Evaluation

Picture courtesy of Community Partners for Clean Streams, Washtenaw County

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Presentation Overview

  • Background on stormwater pollution

  • Stormwater behaviors to reduce pollutants

  • Backyard projects to reduce velocity/volume of stormwater

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Urban Stormwater Pollution

  • Contains:

    • sediment, bacteria and viruses, oil and grease, pesticides and fertilizers, salts, heavy metals and other potentially toxic chemicals

  • Fate:

    • neighbor’s yard

    • discharged untreated into nearby streams, rivers, and lakes

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Sources of Impairment for Wetlands, Streams and Ponds in Schenectady

  • Urban runoff and storm sewers

  • Agriculture: chemical pesticides and fertilizers, animal waste

  • Farm practices: intensive animal feeding operations, non-irrigated crop production, off farm animal holding area

  • Municipal point source: wastewater treatment

Numbers from: 2004 NC Water Quality Assessment and Impaired Waters List prepared by DENR Division of Water Quality (Table 3.10)

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Impacts of Stormwater Pollution Schenectady

  • Pollutes drinking water

  • Kills fish

  • Eutrophication (excess weed and algae growth)

  • Human illness

  • Damages homes and businesses during flash floods

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Using Precaution Schenectady

  • Aquatic systems naturally fluctuate

  • When the stream, lake, or ocean cannot correct the change, the waterway becomes impaired

  • Current research – Center for Watershed Health and Restoration

Picture courtesy of Miami, When it Rains, It Drains

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Conservative Estimates of SchenectadyU.S. Polluters

38 million

Frequent Fertilizers

43 million

Pesticide Sprayers

15 million


27 million

Chronic Car Washers

3 million

Bad Mechanics

16 million

Poor Pooch Scoopers

15 million

Septic Slackers

Center for Watershed Protection

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Frequent Fertilizers Schenectady

Water Quality Consortium

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Frequent Fertilizers Schenectady

Why be concerned?

  • Creates nutrient runoff

  • Excess weed and algae growth

    What you can do:

  • Test soil

  • Organic fertilizer

  • Never fertilize before it rains

Center for Watershed Protection

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Pesticides and Herbicides Schenectady

Why be concerned?

  • Contaminate drinking water supplies

  • Toxic to humans and aquatic organisms

    What you can do:

  • Use sparingly

  • Hand pick weeds

  • Mulch

  • Beneficial insects

© 2001 Center for Watershed Protection

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Hosers Schenectady

Why be concerned?

  • Over watering washes nutrients

    and sediment off your lawn

    What you can do:

  • Tallest mowing height

  • Just enough water to satisfy

  • Avoid watering paved areas

  • Clean walks & patios with a broom

Center for Watershed Protection

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Chronic Car Washers Schenectady

Water Quality Consortium

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Chronic Car Washers Schenectady

Why be concerned?

  • Oils, grease, metals

What you can do:

  • Wash less

  • Car washing facility that treats or recycles water

  • Buy cleaners labeled “biodegradable”

  • Wash on the grass

  • Don’t dispose in storm drain

Center for Watershed Protection

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Car Leaks Schenectady

Water Quality Consortium

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Bad Mechanics Schenectady

Why be concerned?

  • Toxic metals, oil, and grease

  • A single quart of motor oil creates a two-acre oil slick.

    What you can do:

  • Repair leaks

  • Recycle motor oil, antifreeze and other vehicle fluids

Center for Watershed Protection

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Poor Pooch Poop Scoopers Schenectady

Water Quality Consortium

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Poor Pooch Poop Scoopers Schenectady

Why be concerned?

  • Phosphorus

  • Harmful bacteria

  • Nutrients

What you can do:

  • Pick up after your pet!

    • Flush

    • Bury away from water sources

    • Seal and throw in trash

© 2001 Center for Watershed Protection

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Septic Slackers Schenectady

Why be concerned?

  • Release nutrients, bacteria, and viruses

    What you can do:

  • Inspect system every 3 years

  • Pump tank every 3-5 years

  • Don’t dispose of household hazardous waste in sinks or toilets.

Center for Watershed Protection

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Backyard Projects Schenectady

  • Reduce impervious surfaces

  • Rain barrels

  • Rain gardens

  • Lawn conversion

  • Landscaping near the water’s edge

Your neighbors will thank you for controlling your runoff.

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Replace Impervious Surfaces Schenectady

Why should I replace impervious surfaces?

  • disrupt the natural water balance

  • collect soil, pet wastes, salt, fertilizers, oils, & other pollutants


  • Replace concrete or asphalt with:

    • Wood chips

    • Permeable pavement

    • Wood decks

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Rain Barrels Schenectady

Why use a rain barrel?

  • Temporary storage device

  • Reduces water consumption

    Why you can do:

  • Install a rain barrel

  • Disconnect downspout

© 2001 Center for Watershed Protection

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Rain Gardens Schenectady

  • Why create a rain garden?

    • Replenish water

    • Protect areas

  • Shelter from pollutants

  • Provide habitat

Picture courtesy of Univ. of Wisc. - Extension

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Rain Gardens Schenectady

What you can do:

  • Incorporate into existing and future landscaping

  • Use plants adapted to variably wet conditions

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Lawn Conversion – Natural State Schenectady

Why convert your lawn?

  • Lawns = little wildlife benefit, erosion and chemicals

  • Native plants = adapted, less maintenance

  • Reduces water consumption

    How do I convert my lawn?

  • Site conditions

  • Appropriate plants

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Landscaping Near the SchenectadyWater’s Edge

Planting tips:

  • Native trees, shrubs, grasses and wildflowers along the water’s edge.

  • Vegetated buffer zone – 25 feet.

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Backyard Pollution Prevention Schenectady

  • DON’T apply fertilizer or pesticides to lawns.

  • DON’Twash cars in streets and driveways - use a commercial car wash, or wash cars on lawns with biodegradable detergents.

  • DO properly dispose of wastes from pets.

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Backyard Pollution Prevention Schenectady

  • DO regularly inspect & clean septic systems.

  • DO minimize impervious surfaces.

  • DO use rain barrels and rain gardens to control your runoff.

  • DO replace lawns with native vegetation.

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Questions? Schenectady

For more information visit: