When it Rains, it Drains

When it rains, stormwater runoff flows across the ground and pavement into storm sewers. As stormwater runoff moves over the ground, it picks up and carries with it natural and manmade 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.

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 before it rains or water the lawn after applying it.
  • Never pour chemicals into storm drains.
  • Dispose or recycle chemicals properly by taking them to the hazardous waste center. Visit www.hhwstl.com for more information. 
  • Use less salt or a salt alternative on icy sidewalks.
  • 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 things that you can do in your own backyard to help prevent this:

  • Install a rain barrel to collect rainwater for watering flowers or gardens.
  • 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 residents that have a creek running through a backyard. 
  • Plant water-tolerant plants and bushes in low-lying areas that tend to collect water. The vegetation will help soak up this water. 
  • Do not sweep, rake or blow grass clippings or leaves along the street or into storm drains. 
  • Do not dump yard waste into creeks or along creek banks. Please utilize the contracted yard waste pickup services. 
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 Joseph Moore, the City's Deputy Building Commissioner and Floodplain Manager by email or (314) 738-2243.