Keep Streams Clean To Prevent Flooding

When it rains, storm-water runoff flows across the ground and pavement into storm sewers where the water makes its way to streams. As storm-water runoff moves over the ground, it picks up and carries natural and man-made pollutants including: fertilizers and herbicides used on lawns, automotive fluids, improperly disposed chemicals, improperly disposed yard waste, sediment from erosion, waste from animals, and trash.

The polluted runoff flows through the storm sewer underground and is released, untreated, into local waterways.
With our provided tips, you can assist in keeping these storm drains clear of hazards so they may work properly during heavy rain and keeps streams clean.

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 and don't 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 as soon as the leak is discovered.
  • Wash your car at an indoor car wash.
  • Properly dispose of trash before it ends up in storm drains.

Another threat related to improperly managed storm-water runoff is flooding. Often water flow is reduced or blocked when storm-water drains are clogged with leaves, grass clippings, and other improperly disposed yard waste. When storm-water drains can’t do their job, areas that aren’t in a regulatory floodplain are subject to flooding. 

Tips on Reducing Storm-water Flooding in Your Yard:
  • Install a rain barrel to collect rainwater for watering. See 
  • 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.
  • Install 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. 
  • See the Missouri Botanical Garden’s rainscaping resources at here.

Taking the proper precautions can reduce the risk of flooding on your property. However, floods can happen anywhere. Most homeowner insurance policies do not cover flood damage. Flood insurance is a separate policy that is designed to cover the building, the contents within the building, or both.

If you have any questions about floodplain requirements, flood insurance, storm-water issues, how to find out if you are within a floodplain, or request a site visit, please contact Director of Community Development, Michael Zeek, at or (314) 291-6550.