Homeowner' Guide to Storm Water Management
Ideas for Decreasing Storm Water Runoff
Effects of a rainstorm can often result in soil erosion and movement of undesirable chemical deposits and waste from where it originates to where it might be deposited. As individual homeowners, each of us can help to reduce storm water runoff by applying landscaping and other techniques to make our soil more porous so it absorbs rather than dispatches storm water downstream of us.
Remember, it’s your responsibility to maintain your home’s drainage system by keeping grass swales, inlets and driveway culvert pipes clear of landscape mulch, leaves, branches and grass clippings. Here are some helpful hints to avoid storm water runoff:
- Recycle grass clippings. Use a mulching mower. Mulching mowers reduce fertilizing requirements and create more water absorbing turf.
- Install grassed swales. Three to five days of standing rainwater in grassed swales allows for absorption and evaporation without creating a mosquito problem.
- Create or retain forested areas on your lot. Treed areas absorb more water than turf.
- Install rain barrels to capture rain run off from your roof. Rain barrels are available locally and may be a practical way to use roof runoff for irrigation.
- Create a rain garden. Rain gardens collect and retain storm water. Water collected in a rain garden remains on the property where it evaporates or gradually seeps into the groundwater table.
Even if a rain collection system or rain garden isn’t in your future landscape plans, you can still prevent contamination of storm water runoff using these best management practices:
- Use a broom to sweep sidewalks and driveway. Even water from a hose can pick up contaminants that eventually flow into rivers, streams and the bay.
- Pick up pet waste.
- Dispose of yard waste. Don’t sweep or blow green waste into the street. If you have a garden service, ask them to remove clippings.
- Go environmentally friendly when using fertilizers and pesticides. Many fertilizers and pesticides contain hazardous chemicals that can enter storm water run off. These chemicals can affect wildlife and contaminate water sources.