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Water: Polluted Runoff

What YOU can do to prevent NPS pollution

Photo of a car on a gravel driveway

Wash your car on the grass or a gravel driveway to prevent runoff.

Urban Stormwater Runoff

  • Keep litter, pet wastes, leaves and debris out of street gutters and storm drains—these outlets drain directly to lake, streams, rivers and wetlands.

  • Apply lawn and garden chemicals sparingly and according to directions.

  • Dispose of used oil, antifreeze, paints and other household chemicals properly—not in storm sewers or drains. If your community does not already have a program for collecting household hazardous wastes, ask your local government to establish one.

  • Clean up spilled brake fluid, oil, grease and antifreeze. Do not hose them into the street where they can eventually reach local streams and lakes.

  • Control soil erosion on your property by planting ground cover and stabilizing erosion-prone areas.

  • Encourage local government officials to develop construction erosion and sediment control ordinances in your community.

  • Have your septic system inspected and pumped, at a minimum every three to five years, so that it operates properly.

  • Purchase household detergents and cleaners that are low in phosphorous to reduce the amount of nutrients discharged into our lakes, streams and coastal waters.

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  • Become involved in local mining issues by voicing your concerns about acid mine drainage and reclamation projects in your area.


  • Use proper logging and erosion control practices on your forest lands by ensuring proper construction, maintenance, and closure of logging roads and skid trails.

  • Report questionable logging practices to state and federal forestry and state water quality agencies.


  • Manage animal waste to minimize contamination of surface water and ground water.

  • Protect drinking water by using less pesticides and fertilizers.

  • Reduce soil erosion by using conservation practices and other applicable best management practices.

  • Use planned grazing systems on pasture and rangeland.

  • Dispose of pesticides, containers, and tank rinsate in an approved manner.

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