Be the Change for Clean Water

Only Rain Down the Drains and Ditches Message Toolkit

Short Text

The storm drains in your street and the ditches along roadways carry rainwater and snowmelt as well as trash, grass clippings, fertilizer, oil and other wastes lying atop the ground directly to our streams. To prevent this, pick up or soak up all spills from vehicles or household activities off of your sidewalk and driveway. Fertilizer pellets and grass clippings should be swept back onto your lawn. Do not wash or dump any yard waste or spills out into the road or down into the storm drains and road ditches. Keeping these areas free of trash and debris also prevents flooding

Article Text

Do you ever notice the storm drains and grassed ditches along the side of the street as you’re driving? When it rains, water running off our roofs, driveways, sidewalks, and parking lots into our streets is directed into these drains and ditches and begins its journey to the nearest waterway. Often this is a direct journey, with the water running straight to a river or stream. Stormwater picks up oil, other automobile fluids, trash, fertilizer and other pollutants and in many areas is discharged untreated into our streams. Even when this water passes through a pond or other stormwater feature, pollutants are not entirely removed and still make their way to our waterways. We swim, wade, kayak and fish and in these rivers and streams. Moreover, people rely on water from these water bodies for their drinking water. The vast majority of people in the Columbus metropolitan area drink water taken from our rivers and streams. The more pollutants that go into our streams, the more money we have to spend to clean the water for drinking. Reducing pollution is everyone’s job. Keeping stormwater from polluting our streams depends on all of us. Only rain should go down a storm drain or a ditch. It’s not just a saying or a good idea. It is the law. What can we do? • Sweep grass clippings and lawn care products back onto the lawn. • Pick up trash. • Wash your car at a commercial car wash. • Absorb and clean up and auto fluid spills. • Fix leaking automobiles. • Use drip pans to catch engine oil and other pollutants while repairing cars. • Recycle used motor oil. • Sweep driveways clean instead of hosing them down. • When walking your pet remember to pick up the waste. • Record and report illegal dumping down storm drains. • Don't dump waste into storm drains or ditches. • Water your lawn by hand, or adjusted sprinklers to avoid over-watering. If any water flows off your lawn, you're using too much water.


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