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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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Presentation Transcript
workshop goals
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
Workshop Agenda
  • True/False Quiz
  • Presentation
  • Discussion
  • Yard Tours
  • Evaluation

Picture courtesy of Community Partners for Clean Streams, Washtenaw County

presentation overview
Presentation Overview
  • Background on stormwater pollution
  • Stormwater behaviors to reduce pollutants
  • Backyard projects to reduce velocity/volume of stormwater
urban stormwater pollution
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
sources of impairment for wetlands streams and ponds in schenectady
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)

impacts of stormwater pollution
Impacts of Stormwater Pollution
  • Pollutes drinking water
  • Kills fish
  • Eutrophication (excess weed and algae growth)
  • Human illness
  • Damages homes and businesses during flash floods

using precaution
Using Precaution
  • 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

conservative estimates of u s polluters
Conservative Estimates of U.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

frequent fertilizers
Frequent Fertilizers

Water Quality Consortium

frequent fertilizers11
Frequent Fertilizers

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

pesticides and herbicides
Pesticides and Herbicides

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


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

chronic car washers
Chronic Car Washers

Water Quality Consortium

chronic car washers15
Chronic Car Washers

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

car leaks
Car Leaks

Water Quality Consortium

bad mechanics
Bad Mechanics

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

poor pooch poop scoopers
Poor Pooch Poop Scoopers

Water Quality Consortium

poor pooch poop scoopers19
Poor Pooch Poop Scoopers

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

septic slackers
Septic Slackers

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

backyard projects
Backyard Projects
  • Reduce impervious surfaces
  • Rain barrels
  • Rain gardens
  • Lawn conversion
  • Landscaping near the water’s edge

Your neighbors will thank you for controlling your runoff.

replace impervious surfaces
Replace Impervious Surfaces

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
rain barrels
Rain Barrels

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

rain gardens
Rain Gardens
  • Why create a rain garden?
    • Replenish water
    • Protect areas
  • Shelter from pollutants
  • Provide habitat

Picture courtesy of Univ. of Wisc. - Extension

rain gardens25
Rain Gardens

What you can do:

  • Incorporate into existing and future landscaping
  • Use plants adapted to variably wet conditions
lawn conversion natural state
Lawn Conversion – Natural State

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
landscaping near the water s edge
Landscaping Near the Water’s Edge

Planting tips:

  • Native trees, shrubs, grasses and wildflowers along the water’s edge.
  • Vegetated buffer zone – 25 feet.
backyard pollution prevention
Backyard Pollution Prevention
  • 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.
backyard pollution prevention29
Backyard Pollution Prevention
  • 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.

For more information visit: