What is Stormwater?

Information for Stormwater Management

What is Stormwater?

The video explains problems that can result from urban stormwater runoff and gives a brief overview of some common BMPs (rain gardens, rain barrels)

Stormwater is defined as precipitation in the form of snow melt runoff, surface runoff and drainage.




  • Plant trees, shrubs and ground cover to help rainwater soak into the ground. Keep the soil covered; bare soil is the primary cause of sedimentation in our waterways. Mulch bare areas with straw, grass clippings, stones, or wood chips.
  • Consider growing clover in your lawn; its a tough plant, and stands up to wear and produces nitrogen needed by lawn grasses.


  • Know your grass. Different types of grasses require different methods of care. Cool-season grasses such as fescue, ryegrass, and bluegrass should be mowed to 3 inches high. Warm-season grasses such as bermuda and zoysia should be mowed to 1-2 inches tal.
  • Leave grass clippings on the lawn because they hold in moisture and are rich in nitrogen, making them a natural fertilizer. Only fertilize in the fall, and only if it is needed.
  • Wash your car only when necessary and wash it over the grass rather than in the driveway. The soil will serve as a natural filter to the soaps, chemicals, break dust, and any leaking liquids from your car. 
  • Don't feed the geese and ducks - particularly around lakes and ponds. Lakes are vital to stormwater management and pet/duck waste, like fertilizers, pollute the water, causing algae blooms that rob the lake of oxygen and kill fish and other aquatic life.
  • Scoop the poop! Be sure to pick up after your dog. Their waste is not natural - it is full of bacteria and excess nutrients that will create algae blooms and contaminate local waterways.


  • Don't burn leaves in ditches or sweep them down storm drains. Burning in ditches causes erosion and allows pollution to wash downstream to our waterways. Even though leaves are natural, if too many of them flow into our waterways, they break down and release extra nutrients that create algae blooms and fish kills. Run over your leaves with your mower to create mulch - a natural fertilizer, just like grass clippings. If you have too many leaves, mulch them and till them into your garden. If you still have leaves left, rake them into clear plastic bags and put them at your curb for pickup or mulch and compost them for use in your garden.
  • Fertilize your lawn only if needed. 


  • As you're winterizing your vehicles, make sure to check for and fix fluid leaks. Even a small amount of oil that drips on the pavement cant pollute thousands of gallons of water. Also make sure to properly dispose of antifreeze and never dump it on the ground or down a storm drain.
  • Instead of using hard de-icing products in the event of freezing precipitation and snow, choose all natural ingredients over rock salt. Ask your local hardware storm which products are eco-friendly and use sparingly.