Be Part of the Solution
Reducing polluted runoff isn’t just the Department of Public Works’ job. EVERYONE can be part of the solution to stormwater pollution!
Here are seven helpful practices that you can adopt TODAY, as well as some additional resources.
1. Conserve Water
Collecting and reusing rain from rooftops, as well as reducing the amount of water used for lawns and gardens, are simple ways to conserve water and reduce runoff. Here are some water conservation suggestions:
- Water Saving Tips and Tricks
- Tips for Surviving the Winter Season
- Rainwater Harvesting pamphlet
- Rain Barrels
2. Install Stormwater Best Management Practices
Rain gardens and impervious surface removal are two examples of Best Management Practices that residents, businesses, and churches can implement to reduce and treat stormwater runoff. Some of these practices can also save you money on your Stormwater Fee. Additionally, there are organizations who can help you decide what practices might be best. Here are places to get started:
- Single Family Property Stormwater Guidance Document
- Non-Single Family Property Stormwater Guidance Document
- Maryland Department of the Environment Stormwater Design Manual
- Blue Water Baltimore -
- Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake -
3. Use Erosion and Sediment Control Practices
Excess sediment (dirt, mud, and sand) can clog pipes, choke stream channels, and reduce the amount sunlight that underwater plants need to survive. Construction projects are required to install and maintain proper erosion and sediment control practices.
- Contact 311 if you see a problem! You can call, go online, or use your 311 App.
- Erosion and Sediment Control in Maryland
4. Properly Dispose of Household Hazardous Waste
Trash, chemicals and grease should NEVER be put into your home drains or a storm drain – they can kill fish and plants in our waterways and clog pipes, causing sewage overflows. DPW offers a free hazardous waste drop-off center as well as information on its Fats, Oils, and Grease (FOG) program.
5. Reduce Pesticide and Herbicide Use
When it rains, pesticides and herbicides can wash off of lawns and gardens and into the storm drain. These chemicals can poison fish and create excess nutrients in the Chesapeake. There are options that you can use to reduce the use of chemicals while maintaining a healthy yard and landscaping.
6. Be Smart about Car Maintenance and Washing
Oil should never be emptied into a storm drain. Only rain goes down the drain! Also, many detergents used to wash cars contain chemicals that are harmful to waterways. Dispose of oil properly, use biodegradable detergents, and consider using a car wash that treats the wash runoff.
If you see someone emptying oil or other pollutants into a storm drain, contact 311! You can call, go online, or use your free 311 App.
7. Dispose of Pet Waste Properly
It’s your dog, it’s your duty. Poop from pets, dogs in particular, can wash into storm drains when it rains. It’s more than a stinky, unsightly problem; it’s also a health risk to people and to streams and the harbor. Pet waste is a source of bacteria in our waterways. It is also an antidote to the bait that the City uses to control rats. Clean up after your pet by properly disposing of the pet waste.
Get Involved! Volunteer Activities and Resources
Whether helping with a community clean-up, tree planting, or stream monitoring, there are many ways to volunteer, and organizations that need volunteers!
- Baltimore City Recreation and Parks
- Baltimore Tree Trust
- Civic Works
- Parks & People Foundation
- National Aquarium
Storm Drain Art
Interested in reminding people about the connection between storm drains and the harbor? Blue Water Baltimore offers applications, workshops, and materials for organizing storm drain art projects such as stencils and murals.
The following pamphlets and links provide additional information for how you and your neighbors can reduce polluted stormwater runoff.
- Make Your Home a Solution to Pollution
- Six Ways You Can Help Keep Our Water Clean
- Pollution Prevention Tips at Home
- What You Can Do