Prevent Stormwater Pollution
Remember, it all drains to our lakes and streams. Click here to read a Iowa Rain Garden Design and Installation Manual.
Do you have extra fertilizer, grass clippings, or dirt on your driveway? Sweep it back onto your lawn. Hosing your driveway sends these pollutants into storm drains that lead to our rivers and streams.
Keep it clean
Whether in the street or in your yard, remember to keep leaves, grass clippings, trash, and fertilizers out of storm drains.
Only rain in the drain
Never dump motor oil, chemicals, pet waste, dirty or soapy water, or anything else down the storm drain. All of these materials pollute lakes and streams.
Use caution when caring for your lawn
Fertilize sparingly and caringly. More is not always better. When we fertilize our lawn we could also be fertilizing our rivers and streams. While fertilizer is good for the lawn, unfortunately it’s bad for the water.
Select an organic or slow-release fertilizer. Check the label. A slow release fertilizer has at least half of the nitrogen in water insoluble form. These fertilizers gradually release nitrogen to plant roots. This provides a steady supply of plant nutrients over an extended period of time. Because you need less fertilizer, you will also save time and money.
Select a fertilizer with low or no phosphorus. Most lawns already contain enough phosphorus. Excess phosphorus is the primary culprit of algae blooms in our lakes!
Make your lawn cheaper and easier to maintain by mowing high – three inches is the rule! Tall grass promotes root growth and shades out weeds. Let short clips fall back on the lawn. Clippings recycle nitrogen back into the soil, so fertilizer can be reduced by 25% or more!
Fertilizer left on sidewalks and driveways will easily wash into storm drains. So, save money and our lakes and streams by sweeping fertilizer back onto the lawn.
… soil test. A soil test will tell you what, if any, fertilizer is needed in your yard. Contact your county extension office for more information.
Make fertilizer-free zones
Keep fertilizer applications at least 20 feet away from the edge of lakes, streams, or storm drains.
Select a lawn service that uses organic fertilizers or offers a slow-release nitrogen, low phosphorus option.
Rake it or leave it
Follow the guidelines in your community for leaf pick-up. Never rake leaves into or near storm drains, ditches, or streams. Decaying leaves use up the water's oxygen, harming fish and the aquatic insects that fish depend on to survive. Better yet, mow leaves into your lawn. Leaves and grass clippings are good fertilizers for your lawn.
Be a responsible pet owner
Dispose of it promptly and properly. Whether in your yard or on a walk, promptly dispose of your pet's waste in the trash or down the toilet where it will be properly treated. When pet waste is left behind, it washes into storm drains and ditches. From there it heads straight to your local lakes and streams taking harmful bacteria with it.
Practice good car care
Car-wash facilities treat their dirty water before discharging it to our lakes and streams. So, make a date to take your car to a car wash.
Wash it—on the grass
If you wash your car at home, consider washing it on the lawn. Or, if you can't use the lawn, try to direct the dirty water towards the lawn and away from the storm drain.
Reduce the amount of soap you use or wash your car with plain water.