Keep Stormwater Drains Clear

When it rains, stormwater runoff flows across the ground and pavement into the storm sewers. As stormwater runoff moves over the ground, it picks up and carries with it natural and man-made pollutants including: fertilizers and herbicides used on lawns, oil/fuels, improperly disposed chemicals, improperly disposed yard waste, sediment from erosion, waste from livestock/pets and trash. The polluted runoff flows through the storm sewer underground and is released untreated into local waterways. You can assist in keeping these storm drains clear of hazards, so they may work properly during heavy rain.

Here are some tips for reducing pollutants:
  • Scoop the poop! Pet waste is not a fertilizer.
  • Use less or no pesticides or herbicides.
  • Never fertilize your yard before it rains or water immediately after applying.
  • NEVER pour chemicals directly into storm drains. Dispose or recycle chemicals properly by taking them to the hazardous waste center. Visit for more information.
  • Use less salt or a salt alternative on icy sidewalks during winter.
  • Repair leaky vehicles.
  • Wash your car at an indoor car wash.
Another threat related to improperly managed stormwater runoff is flooding. When stormwater drains are clogged with leaves, grass clippings and other improperly disposed yard waste, the flow of water is reduced or blocked.

Here are some tips on what you can do to reduce stormwater flooding in your yard:

  • Install a rain barrel to collect rainwater for watering.
  • Disconnect your rain gutters (downspouts) from impervious surfaces (such as driveways and sidewalks) and direct the flow to grassy areas or gardens.
  • Allow a buffer of native grasses and other vegetation to grow along streams, ponds or wetlands. This not only filters pollutants, but also limits erosion. This is a GREAT tip for those of you with creeks running through your backyards.
  • Plant water-tolerant plants and bushes in low-lying areas that tend to collect water. This vegetation will help soak up the rainfall.
  • Do not sweep, rake or blow grass clippings or leaves along the street or into a storm drain.
  • Do not dump yard waste into creeks or along creek banks.
If you have any questions about floodplain requirements, flood insurance, stormwater issues, to find out if you are within a floodplain or to request a site visit, please contact Director of Community Development, Mike Zeek, here or call (314) 291-6550.