Did you know that stormwater pollution starts at home? It happens when you don’t pick up after your dog or when you apply too much fertilizer on your lawn. It happens when you wash your car and the soapy, dirty water flows onto the street, eventually into the storm drain. You can prevent water pollution and help keep our streams and rivers clean for your friends, family, and those who live downstream from you.
Approximately 77,349 dogs live in Boulder County. That many dogs creates a lot of dog waste! You can make a difference by being a responsible pet owner. Be prepared and carry bags with you to pick up pet waste on the trail, at the park, around your neighborhood, and anywhere else you take your dog. Pick up after your pet at home using bags or a scooper and place in a trash can. Do not leave bags on the side of trails—there isn’t anyone designated to pick them up!
Lawn care, landscaping, and pest control practices are major contributors to stormwater pollution. Tend to landscaping with organic practices and alternative pest management techniques to keep them healthy – healthy plants and lawns require less fertilizers and pesticides. Preventing water runoff is important to keep any chemicals applied from running off and nutrients from leaching out of the soil. Yard waste should be kept off sidewalks and roads and composted when possible.
When you wash your car in a driveway or street, the dirty water flows untreated into the nearest storm drain and then into local waterways. This used water can contain residue from exhaust fumes, gasoline, heavy metals from rust, and motor oils that build up on your car. Check your parking spot and driveway for evidence of leaks from your car and repair any car leaks promptly. When possible, wash vehicles at a full or self-service car wash where used water is recycled or treated. Store hazardous auto fluids and waste indoors or in a sealed container to prevent spills and dispose of responsibly at auto shops or other facility.
Read the Car Washing and Maintenance Brochure (English) / Guía del lavado y mantenimiento de coches (Spanish) for more tips. Check out Locations to Properly Dispose of Used Auto Fluids in the Boulder St. Vrain Watershed.
Regular maintenance inside and around our living spaces can impact stormwater. When washing compost containers, dump wash water into indoor sink drains or directly onto landscaped areas. Never allow wash water to enter roads and storm drains. During the winter, shovel snow onto landscaped areas and use deicers sparingly. For pools and spas: dechlorinate before draining; remove or strain out algae, solids, and oils; and discharge water slowly and carefully. Home projects can also send sediment and pollutants into streams, properly dispose of the waste created by rental equipment. Certain materials need to be disposed of as hazardous waste; other waste byproducts can be disposed of in the trash.
Check out these brochures to learn more: Draining Pools Spas and Fountains (English) / Drenaje de piscinas, fuentes y spas (Spanish), Painting (English) / Pintura (Spanish), Home Improvement Projects (English) / Proyectos de mejora de la vivienda (Spanish).
Litter and chemicals from our home can pollute waterways and be toxic to aquatic life. Household hazardous waste includes products that contain hazardous ingredients and require special care when you dispose of them. Make sure that your trash and recycle cans lids are securely attached. Whether you need to get rid of used motor oil, paint, solvents, or fertilizer, recycle or properly dispose of these products at your local recycling center or other specialized facility. By responsibly disposing of these items, you are keeping them from accidentally ending up in our streams and negatively impacting aquatic life.
The Keep it Clean Partnership has developed brochures on various topics with tips and localized resources for the Boulder St. Vrain Watershed:
The above resources highlight the local resources that are available to residents and businesses of the Boulder St. Vrain Watershed. We have also created general versions of our resources that can be distributed to the residents of any watershed: