Stormwater Pollution Prevention

Stormwater is the number one source of pollution to our waterways.  As stormwater flows over paved areas, it picks up oil, trash, chemicals, fertilizers, sediment, and other pollutants.

Our stormwater system carries these pollutants directly to waterways and, ultimately, the Chesapeake Bay. Polluted stormwater degrades water quality and threatens the health of fish and other aquatic life.

You can help improve stormwater quality by disposing of oils and chemicals properly, minimizing or eliminating fertilizer use at home, picking up pet waste, and washing your car over a grassy area.

Your neighborhood storm drains lead directly to our local creeks, streams, and rivers. It's important to understand the impact your actions can have on our water systems. The following information provides details on pollutants that should be avoided to keep your waterways safe. 

  1. Fertilizer
  2. Illicit Discharge
  3. Pet Waste
  4. Pools
  5. Sediment

Prevent Nutrient Pollution from Fertilizer

Rainwater flowing over your lawn enters these waterways and ultimately ends up in Chesapeake Bay. The fertilizer you use on your lawn contains nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorous that can cause algae blooms in the Bay. Algae clouds the water, reducing light infiltration to critical underwater grasses. It also reduces the oxygen available in the water, causing fish kills.

Nutrient pollution has turned the Chesapeake Bay into one of the largest dead zones (low oxygen zone that cannot support any aquatic/plant life) in the nation.

How You Can Help

Follow these simple tips to protect our waterways from nutrient pollution:

  • Test your soil for nutrient levels before fertilizing. Only apply what is needed.
  • Fertilize in the fall, if at all.
  • Use fertilizer sparingly. Follow the label.
  • Consider organic fertilizers. The release nutrients slowly.
  • Check the weather. Do not fertilize before it rains.
  • Leave grass clippings on your lawn. They can generate 25% of your lawn’s yearly fertilizer needs.