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We need every resident to do their part to reach our goal of clean healthy waterways. The following tips will help you prevent stormwater pollution from your home.

Pet Waste Belongs in the Trash!

You hate stepping in it. And fish hate swimming in it, too! When you walk your dog, make sure to carry a plastic bag with you so that you can pick up the waste and dispose of it properly. Flushing is the best disposal method (don’t flush the plastic bag), but you can also throw it in a trash can. Some towns will fine you if they catch you leaving it in public areas!


Do your "doody" in both public areas and in your yard. To learn more, visit the Neponset River Watershed Association.

Yard Waste

In the spring, bag your grass clippings for curbside pickup. In the fall, do it again with your leaves. Even better, compost them to make a natural fertilizer for your garden. But whatever you do, don't dump them in a brook or storm drain, and don't leave them on the sidewalk!


Learn more from the Mystic River Watershed Association. 

Lawn Chemicals and Fertilizer

Test your soil and read the label before you apply fertilizer. If you use too much fertilizer, the excess will just wash away in the next rain, polluting your local waterways. Use fertilizers sparingly and sweep up driveways, sidewalks and walkways.


You may not even need to fertilize your yard! According to experts, most homeowners over-fertilize their lawns. The University of Massachusetts has a handy guide on how to test your soil to see if you need to fertilize. 

Lawn Watering

A lawn needs just one inch of water per week to be green. If you are watering more than that, a lot of that water is running off into the nearest waterway, taking your fertilizer, seeds, and hard earned money right along with it. Adjust your sprinklers so they don't water the driveway or sidewalk. Even better, use drip irrigation or soaker hoses. 


There are lots of useful tips in the Guide to Lawn and Landscape Water Conservation, published by the Massachusetts Water Resources Commission. 

Household Chemicals

If you stop to think about it, your home is full of chemicals, such as cleaners, medicines, pesticides, weed and bug killers, and old paint, just to name a few.  When you're cleaning out the garage, it might be tempting to pour those chemicals down the toilet, sink or the storm drain, but don't! 


The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection has created a website where you can find a household hazardous waste disposal facility that is convenient to you.

Car Care

It matters how and where you take care of your car. When you are working on your car, take care to catch your used fluids in safe containers that you can take to a recycling center. Never dispose of these chemicals down a storm drain. If you spill anything, mop it up quickly. It's best to take your car to a professional car wash. They have special equipment to treat all the dirty water they produce. If you wash your car at home, it's best to park your car on the grass, first, rather than leave it on the driveway. 


For more on these and other car care tips, visit our friends at the city of Concord.

Soak Up the Rain!

Rainwater won't become stormwater pollution if you keep it on your property! You can do that by connecting rain barrels to your gutters, and using the water they capture in your lawn or garden later. If you are renovating, consider a rain garden or modern "pervious" pavers that allow water to soak through into the soil below.


You can learn more about all these techniques by reading this fact sheet from the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission.

Septic Systems

If you smell sewage or see especially lush plants growing on your leach field, then your septic system might need attention. If your septic system needs repair, it might be polluting your local waterways. If it gets too bad, it might back up into your home!

Learn more about the symptoms and solutions to failing septic systems from the Town of Newbury Stormwater Committee. 

Pool Care

Do you know how your eyes can burn after too much time in the chlorinated water of a swimming pool? Imagine how that feels for fish and frogs! Pool owners should stop chlorinating as soon as they know they're going to drain the pool, and drain the water on the grass rather than directly into a waterway.


For more tips, check out this brochure from the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation. 

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