Top Tips to Reduce Pollution and Runoff

Limit Fertilizers:                                                  

Only use the bare minimum. Test your soil before fertilizing to learn what nutrients are needed and fertilize only in the fall.

Add Compost: 

Compost helps to create a rich soil amendment for your lawn and garden and is better for the environment that chemical fertilizer. 

Add Plants: 

Ditch the turf and make your backyard more interesting with native plants! Native shrubs, trees, and flowers will absorb more runoff than grass, help improve water quality, and can benefit wildlife.

Properly Dispose of Hazardous Waste:

Each locality has a hazardous waste drop-off center. Check with your locality’s website to see which items should be taken to the drop-off and which can be put into the trash. Remind contractors never to wash or dump anything in a storm drain or street.

Don't Wash Your Car at Home: 

Commercial car washes are regulated and send their water to a waste water treatment plant. Washing at home means soap and suds runoff into the environment.

Pick Up After Your Pet: 

Where ever the poop falls, pick it up and put it in the trash.

Cover soil:

Bare soil can be like concrete in terms of its ability to absorb water. Cover bare soil with mulch or plants to slow stormwater runoff.

Break up slabs: 

Replace concrete patio slabs with permeable pavers that allow water to soak in. For driveways, consider leaving a strip of grass up the center

Protect trees: 

Like other plant roots, tree roots help absorb and filter runoff. Tree canopies also slow rainfall and spread it over a larger area.

Catch runoff:

Install a rain barrel or cistern to catch stormwater runoff from roofs. Use this water to irrigate garden plants.

Plant a rain garden: 

A rain garden is a shallow basin designed to catch and slow runoff. It's frequently planted near downspout outlets. The design includes soil layers, mulch, and plants, all of which filter rainwater as it seeps into soil. Learn more here 

A Virginia native plant, the obedient plant is known for its spires of beautiful flowers.

Activities of the Clean Water Partners are managed by the Northern Virginia Regional Commission on their behalf.

Questions or comments can be sent to cmiles@novaregion.org