What You Can Do

Unlike the water that goes down sinks and toilets, stormwater isn’t treated to remove harmful pollutants. It carries pollution off of our land directly into waterbodies.

There are simple steps you can take in your own neighborhood and home to protect our water resources. Many of these solutions are no-cost or low-cost, and have the added benefit of making your neighborhood cleaner and more attractive.

Lawn Care

A lush, green lawn.Did you know that many lawn care practices create pollution in our waterways? Grass clippings, leaves, fertilizer and other pollutants can wash into the streets, through the stormdrains and into nearby waterbodies. We’ll teach you how to keep your lawn lush and green while protecting the environment.

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Fall Yard Care

A boy raking leaves in the fall.Fall is a beautiful time to be outdoors in Minnesota — and a critical time for yard care. Cooling temperatures make fall the perfect season for planting new grass, pulling weeds, aerating the soil and taking extra steps to ensure a healthy comeback for your lawn next spring. Protect your lawn and our waterways with our simple tips.

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Snow and Ice Removal

A woman shoveling snow.Did you know that many Minnesota lakes and rivers are contaminated with chloride? This toxic chemical comes from the salt and deicers we use to keep pavements ice-free in the winter. You can help protect our waterbodies by fighting snow and ice the smart way this winter.

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Top: Feature photo courtesy Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

Six Things You Can Do

1. Adopt a Stormdrain

Keep your leaves and grass clippings out of the street and away from stormdrains. Yard waste contains phosphorus and other nutrients that feed algae and harm wildlife. Bag them up or rake them onto your lawn and mulch them.

2. Scoop the Poop

We all love our furry friends, but pet waste is full of e. Coli bacteria and other contaminants that get washed out into our waterways when it rains. Pick up after your pets wherever they go and don’t let pet waste sit out on your lawn for extended periods of time.

3. Mow Smart

Healthy lawns are good for the environment. Set your lawn mower to cut your grass 2 ½ inches to 3 inches off the ground to keep the grass from dying and requiring excessive watering. Don’t cut more than one third of the height of the grass, and keep the clippings out of the street.

4. Fertilize Smart

Fertilizer that washes into our waterways causes algae to bloom, harming fish and wildlife. If you need to use fertilizer, use only phosphorus-free products, and sweep up any fertilizer that spills onto hard surfaces like driveways or streets. Always follow the application directions on the bag. (Photo courtesy University of Georgia College of Agriculture and Environmental Sceinces.)

5. Salt Smart

Road salt and deicing chemicals are a fact of life in Minnesota, but they’re also a serious and perpetual source of water pollution. When it snows, shovel early and often so that you don’t need as much salt. Don’t bother salting when the temperature drops below 15 degrees Fahrenheit, because it won’t work, and sweep up any salt you seen on dry pavement. (Photo courtesy Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.)

6. Wash Smart

Wash your vehicles at a commercial car wash instead of your driveway. Car washes are required to dispose of their wastewater properly, whereas the runoff from your driveway will go down the stormdrain.

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