Stormwater runoff occurs when rain falls on structures, sports fields, gravel lots and other developed lots and runs into nearby lakes and rivers. It includes elements that are dangerous to water supply, such as oil, grease, pesticides, pet waste and leaking materials from storage containers. Local civil engineers in Columbus, GA must make plans for stormwater runoff to stay in compliance with regulations. As a home or business owner, there are steps you can take to minimize it as well. Here are five tips to get started:
- Be careful with car fluids: If your car is leaking any type of oil or other fluid, address it immediately. These are among the most toxic for stormwater runoff. When you change oil or antifreeze, dispose of it in a responsible way, generally through hazardous chemical disposal or recycling. Even the runoff from washing your car can be harmful—use a commercial car wash or wash your car on your lawn.
- Control fertilizer and pesticide use: Chemical fertilizers and pesticides are major culprits in the danger of stormwater runoff. It is best to cut down on their usage, but if they are required, use them sparingly. Avoid fertilizing your lawn or applying pesticides or herbicides before a rainstorm. Not only will it join the water runoff, but you will not benefit from its application. Consider letting your lawn go brown to reduce its maintenance demand and your use of these chemicals; it will recover fully during the fall.
- Look into native landscaping: We have all been raised to believe a shiny green lawn is the epitome of yard maintenance, but it is also demanding of water and labor. You likely have other ideas of how to spend your time, so consider removing part of your lawn and replacing it with native plants. These species will demand less from you in terms of care, and your yard will still look pristine. You will also use fewer chemicals to maintain them, which is good news for reducing the impacts of stormwater runoff.
- Manage your animals: Pets and livestock can make stormwater runoff hazardous. Regularly clean up after your dogs, and keep cats inside when possible. Dispose of used kitty litter properly and keep it away from water runoff. Horses and cattle should also be kept away from streams, as their manure can pollute them. If you collect manure for compost, place it in an area where it cannot run off into waterways.
- Rethink concrete: Impervious surfaces, like solid driveways and patios, do not manage runoff well. In fact, they direct it all right into the stormwater system and increase the risk of introducing chemicals and animal waste to local waterways. Consider permeable patterns with pavers, bricks or cement so water can sink between the seams and go directly into the ground. Redirect roof runoff so water lands in vegetated areas.
Moon Meeks and Associates, Inc. are local civil engineers in Columbus, GA. Our services can help you manage stormwater runoff better and keep it from damaging the environment. Call us today to set up a consultation.