When it rains, any yard waste or chemicals used in landscape maintenance are swept into the stormdrain system and eventually lead to other waterways. Grass clippings and other plant waste can clog the stormdrain system, while lawn and garden chemicals can have adverse affects on marine life. When working in the yard, use these tips to avoid creating problems for the stormdrain system and at the end of the pipe.
- Recycle Yard Waste: Recycle leaves, grass clippings and other yard waste. Do not blow, sweep, rake or hose yard waste into the street. Let your customers know about grass cycling --the natural recycling of grass by leaving clippings on the lawn when mowing instead of using a grass catcher. Grass clippings will quickly decompose, returning valuable nutrients to the soil. You can get more information at www.ciwmb.ca.gov/Organics
- Use Fertilizers, Herbicides & Pesticides Safely: Fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides are often carried into the stormdrain system by sprinkler runoff. Use natural, non-toxic alternatives to traditional garden chemicals. If you must use chemical fertilizers, herbicides, or pesticides spot apply rather than blanketing entire areas, avoid applying near curbs and driveways and never apply before a rain.
- Recycle Hazardous Waste: Pesticides, fertilizers, herbicides and motor oil contaminate landfills and should be disposed of through a Hazardous Waste Facility.
- Use Water Wisely: Conserve water and prevent runoff by controlling the amount of water and direction of sprinklers. Sprinklers should be on long enough to allow water to soak into the ground but not so long as to cause runoff. Periodically inspect, fix leaks and realign sprinkler heads.
- Planting: Plant native vegetation to reduce the need of water, fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides.
- Prevent Erosion: Erosion washes sediments, debris and toxic runoff into the stormdrain system, polluting waterways. Prevent erosion and sediment runoff by using ground cover, berms and vegetation down-slope to capture runoff. Avoid excavation or grading during wet weather.
- Store Materials Safely: Keep landscaping materials and debris away from the street, gutter and stormdrains. On-site stockpiles of materials should be covered with plastic sheeting to protect from rain, wind and runoff.