10 Tips for Preventing Stormwater Pollution

318454_9151Last week on Dirty Jobs, Mike Rowe helped clean storm drains, which made me a bit sick to watch, I guess that’s why they call it “Dirty Jobs”. It made me think about how important it is that we put our trash in the proper place and keep our drains free of pollution as much as we can. Below are 10 tips to preventing stormwater pollution. We don’t want this pollution going to our rivers and streams, harming fish and wildlife along the way. Did you know that a single cigarette butt can take 25 years to break down? So please don’t litter, it doesn’t take much to look for a trash can and dispose of trash properly.

  1. Never dump anything down storm drains or into streams and report anyone who does.
  2. Replant bare spots in your yard and preserve streamside vegetation.
  3. Direct rooftop downspouts away from paved surfaces.
  4. Take your car to a car wash or wash it on an unpaved area.
  5. Check your car for leaks and recycle your motor oil and antifreeze.
  6. Pick up your pet waste; it can carry harmful bacteria and parasites.
  7. Have your septic tank pumped and system inspected regularly.
  8. Choose low-maintenance, native plants that require fewer chemicals and less watering and sweep up debris from driveways and sidewalks.
  9. Consider alternatives to impervious surfaces such as pervious pavement, paving blocks, gravel cobbles, brick and natural stone.
  10. Get a rain barrel to collect stormwater and install an approved rain garden or green roof.

Paper Napkins VS Cloth Napkins

597937_41806927I have always thought cloth napkins were better than paper always but now I am finding out that it depends on the situation. In our house we don’t use paper napkins or paper towels, just cloth napkins. And in most cases this is the best option but there are times when paper napkins are better than cloth.

At treehugger.com they have an article, Are Paper Napkins More Environmentally Friendly?, which takes you through the Napkin Analysis:

I begin by weighing some napkins. My paper napkins weigh only 4 grams each, while my cotton napkins weigh 28 grams, and linen napkins weigh 35 grams. Of course the exact weight will vary but the relative weights will be roughly the same. I am again turning to James Norman, a life cycle analysis expert and the Director of Research at Planet Metrics for some of the data that I need.

  • Making Napkins
  • Washing Napkins
  • Drying Napkins
  • How do they compare?
  • Napkins in the Restaurant
  • Napkins in the home

At the end they help you know whats best for each scenario and throughout the article they stated the amount of greenhouse gases and water each scenario uses. Click here for the complete article and make your decision on whether to use paper or cloth.