Homeowner's Guide to Healthy Habits

As storm water flows over driveways, lawns, and sidewalks, it picks up debris, chemical, dirt and other pollutants. Anything that enters a storm drain enters water bodies that we use for fishing, swimming, and providing drinking water. Polluted runoff is the nation’s greatest threat to clean water.

Make your Home the Solution to Storm Water Pollution by following these tips!

Home Repair and Improvement
  • Before beginning an outdoor project, locate the nearest storm drains and protect them from debris and other materials.
  • Sweep up and properly dispose of construction debris such as concrete and mortar.
  • Use hazardous substances like paints, solvents, and cleaners in the smallest amounts possible and follow the directions on the label. Clean up spills immediately, and dispose of the waste safely. Store substances properly to avoid leaks and spills.
  • Purchase and use nontoxic, biodegradable, recycled, and recyclable products whenever possible.
  • Clean paint brushes in the sink, not outdoors.
  • Reduce the amount of paved area and increase the amount of vegetated area in your yard.
Vehicle and Garage
  • Use a commercial car wash or wash your car on a lawn or other unpaved surface to minimize the amount of dirty, soapy water flowing into the storm drain and eventually into our local water body.
  • Check your car, boat, motorcycle and other machinery and equipment for leaks and spills. Make repairs as soon as possible. Clean up spilled fluid with an absorbent material like kitty litter or sand, and don’t rinse the spills into a nearby storm drain. Remember to properly dispose of the absorbent materials.
  • Recycle used oil and other automotive fluids. Don’t dump these chemicals down the drain or dispose of them in the trash.
Lawn and Garden
  • Use pesticides and fertilizers sparingly.
  • Select native plants and grasses that are drought and pest resistant. Native plants require less water, fertilizer, and pesticides.
  • Sweep up yard debris, rather than hosing down areas. Compost or recycle yard waste when possible.
  • Don’t over water your lawn. Water during the cool times of the day, and don’t let water run off into the storm drain.
  • Cover piles of dirt and mulch being used in landscaping to prevent these pollutants from blowing or washing off your yard into storm drains. Vegetate bare spots in your yard to prevent soil erosion.
Pet Care
  • When walking your pet, remember to pick up the waste and dispose of it properly. Leaving pet waste on the ground increases public health risks by allowing harmful bacteria and nutrients to wash into the storm drain and eventually into local coulees and rivers.
Swimming Pool and Spa
  • Drain your swimming pool only when a test kit does not detect chlorine levels.
  • Whenever possible, drain your pool or spa into the sanitary sewer system.
  • Properly store pool and spa chemicals to prevent leaks and spills, preferably in a covered area to avoid exposure to rain water, which eventually ends up in the storm drain.
*Information was taken from EPA’s Storm Water Outreach Materials and Reference Documents found at http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/stormwatermonth.cfm

For more information :
Visit www.epa.gov/npdes/stormwater
Contact: Melanie Parvey, City of Grand Forks
phone: 701-738-8781

City of Grand Forks
Environmental Compliance Office
724 N 47th Street * Grand Forks, ND 58203 * Phone (701) 738-8781