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 (note that rain barrels are now eligible for a stormwater fee credit). Here are some water conservation suggestions:

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 that can help you decide what practices might be best. Here are places to get started:

 3. Use Erosion and Sediment Control Practices

Excess sediment (dirt, mud, and sand) can clog pipes, choke stream channels, and reduce the amount of sunlight that underwater plants need to survive. Construction projects are required to install and maintain proper erosion and sediment control practices.

 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 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, or contact them online by clicking here or by using 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!

You can also organize your own clean-up events, and receive volunteer hours toward credit on your stormwater fee.

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 drains art projects such as stencils and murals.

General Information

The following pamphlets and links provide additional information on how you and your neighbors can reduce polluted stormwater runoff.