Stormwater runoff is what comes from your home when you park your car in your driveway or when you fertilize and use insecticide on your planets. It can also come from not cleaning up after your pet properly. Any sort of chemical or harmful substance that gets onto your lawn or driveway will run down with the rainwater into the stream and harm nearby rivers and streams. Most of this water doesn't even get filtered through and does immediate damage to the environment when it could have been prevented.
Stormwater runoff not only harms the environment around the lakes, rivers, and streams it runs into, but it hurts the wildlife that live there and your community too. Stormwater runoff can contaminate what would have been drinking water for your community and can cause water shortages.
The Federal Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, and Endangered Species Act help Portland keep our water clean and safe for use and also helps the animals and environment safe from stormwater runoff. But they need your help too to keep everyone, including animals and the environment, safe and free from pollutants that can come from stormwater runoff.
Here are some things that you can do at home to help your community:
- To keep the street from flooding rake leaves and debris at least one foot away from the curb and storm drains/catch basins in front of your house.
- If you notice that a catch basin is clogged in front of your house and you are unable to clear it yourself, call the city (the number for Portland is 503-823-1700) and they will come clean it out for you.
- Make sure water directs away from your homes foundation and not onto your neighbor’s property
- Never dump water over the side of a hill
- Keep your gutters clean
- Be sure to keep an eye on the trees on your property to make sure they aren't leaning and be sure that there are no cracks in the ground or pavement as this could indicate ground movement.
- Recycle used oil, antifreeze, and other fluids properly, never dump them out in your lawn or on your driveway and be sure to check your car for oil leaks as well.
- Don't wash your car at your house, take it to a carwash. The extra few bucks out of your pocket is nothing compared to how much you're helping the environment by not letting all of that soap and oil run off into a storm drain.
- Use less fertilizers and pesticides in your lawn or switch to all organic products.
- If you have a septic system keep it properly maintained. If it fails and breaks it will cause massive damage to the nearby lakes and streams.
- Always clean up after your pet and dispose of the waste properly.
These are just a few things that can help in your community to reduce pollution from stormwater runoff. Any little bit helps!
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