Prevention Steps

One of the primary dangers of stormwater is the contaminants it collects as it flows across impervious surfaces. Fortunately, there are several easy things each of us can do to help decrease the pollutant levels of the runoff that flows from our properties. Prevention steps include:

Don't Litter

When it rains, debris on the ground comes in contact with stormwater runoff. Any debris - from small toys left on the lawn to litter discarded from vehicles - that ends up on the ground, streets or parking lots gets washed into storm drains and into local streams, rivers and lakes.

Collect Your Pet’s Waste

Animal waste is a significant contributor to the bacteria and pollutants found in our waters. It deposits harmful bacteria into our drinking, swimming, fishing and recreational waters. The Appomattox, much like our other waterways, contains high amounts of fecal coliform as a result of animal waste. Picking up after your pet is a simple and easy way to help decrease the amount of contaminants that end up in our waters.

Properly Dispose of Used Automobile Oil, Fluids and Other Hazardous Wastes

Toxins from vehicle fluids contribute significantly to the pollutants that end up in our waterways. Stormwater carries oils, antifreeze and metals from the streets, parking lots and driveways where these fluids build up into the streams, rivers and lakes that you swim, fish, and boat. Toxins found in these fluids can seriously degrade the health and stability of our waters. Recycle used motor oil and NEVER dispose of used oil or other fluids by dumping them into storm drains, ditches, or by simply pouring them onto an unused area of your property. Colonial Heights Recycling Center accepts these types of fluids.

Alter Use of Fertilizers and Pesticides

Though these chemicals help keep our lawns green and insect free, fertilizers and pesticides pose perhaps the most significant danger to the habitats of our waters and to the fish and wildlife that they support. Fortunately, many of the same effects these chemicals produce can be accomplished with either smaller amounts of these substances or natural alternatives. Getting your soil tested, as opposed to simply guessing at the right amounts of fertilizer, also helps, as it will allow you to apply only the necessary amounts and types without overloading your lawn with fertilizers that it won’t use and that will end up in our waterways. Leaving your grass clippings on your lawn also helps, by allowing the fertilizers already absorbed by the clipped blades to continue fertilizing the lawn. Almost all mowers now have a mulcher setting that will allow you to do just that.

Think Like A Rain Drop

While this sounds pretty elementary, all of us have seen it rain and have watched the runoff go where gravity carries it: downhill. Knowing this, an easy way to help decrease stormwater runoff from your property is to think like a rain drop in all that you do. Doing so will help you take simple actions to change or slow the flow of water. Downspouts, for example, can easily be turned away from paved surfaces to flow onto grassy areas where the water will be slowed and pick up far fewer contaminants. This will also help water your lawn. Rather than collecting leaves on slopes near ditches or waterways, try collecting them in an enclosed compost area. This will help keep additional leaves and debris out of local waterways, but will also cut down on the costs you incur each year for fresh mulch, as the home-made compost will make an excellent source of natural mulch in the spring and summer.

Report Illegal Dumping and Other Polluting Activities

The City’s Illegal Discharge and Illicit Connection hotline allows you to help the City’s Department of Public Works find and eliminate illegal dumping and illicit connections. You can report an incident either by phone or by submitting a report online, both may be done anonymously.