What Can Residents Do?

Keep Polluted Water Out of Streams

The five forks of the Catfish Creek are currently on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's list of impaired and threatened waters for E. coli. This means that pollution controls int he Catfish Creek Watershed are not sufficient to maintain water quality standards. The Bee Branch Creek is not on the list of impaired waters but, at times, monitoring has indicated high concentrations of nitrogen, phosphorous, and E. coli. That is why we need your help to improve and protect the health of our waterways. There are several simple things you can do!

Do Protect!

  • Use fertilizers and lawn chemicals sparingly. Sweep up extra fertilizer that falls on your driveway or sidewalk.
  • Pick up after pets. Pet waste contains bacteria that pollutes water.
  • Take your vehicle to the car wash or wash it on the lawn to prevent soapy water from leaving your property.
  • Fix oil and antifreeze leaks from your car. Promptly clean up spills to prevent them from washing into the street and storm drain.
  • Clean paintbrushes in a sink, not outdoors, and property dispose of excess paints through a hazardous waste collection program.
  • Recycle or compost when possible.

Don't Pollute!

  • DON'T throw trash on the ground including cigarette butts.
  • DON'T wash off your driveway into the street.
  • DON'T dump oil or household waste in a storm drain.
  • DON'T mow grass clippings or rake leaves into the street.
  • DON'T dump grass clippings or yard waste in a storm drain or on a stream bank.

Awareness and Responsibility

Wash your car over the lawn or at a car wash
Washing The Car
If you wash the car in the driveway, all of the soap, scum, and oily grit will run down into the street and into a catch basin. Did you know the storm drains on your street and in your neighborhood carry rainwater away from your house, apartment building, or yard directly into local creeks, streams and rivers near you? It may go into a ditch and then flow to streams and rivers. Unlike wastewater generated when you flush the toilet or wash the dishes, stormwater is not cleaned or treated, so anything that goes to the storm drain or ditch goes into the water. Soap and oily grit aren’t good for the animals in the river, and they aren’t good for us when we use the river water for swimming or drinking.

Wash the car on the lawn instead of the street or driveway. Streets and driveways are made of asphalt, which is impervious, meaning that water can’t go through it. The lawn is pervious, meaning water can soak into it and it will not go straight to the storm drain. When people wash their car on a pervious surface, or better yet take it to a car wash where the water gets treated, they help reduce stormwater pollution.
Lawn Care
Some people use fertilizer on lawns to help them grow. When people use more fertilizer than their lawn needs, or if they fertilize just before it rains, a lot of fertilizer ends up in runoff and not on the lawn. You know what happens next... down the storm drain and into the river. Fertilizer helps things grow, but when it gets in water, it helps algae grow. Algae blooms can cause major problems in waterways because they use up oxygen needed by other river critters. What can people do who want to fertilize their lawn? Only use as much fertilizer as the lawn needs, and try not to fertilize before it rains.

Another thing to think about is the grass clippings left after you mow the lawn. What gets done with the leaves you rake? Not only is it against the law, but putting grass clippings, leaves, and yard debris in the street, catch basin, or ditch can cause problems for you and animal habitat. Catch basins can clog, streets can flood, and water can become polluted. To avoid this, use clippings as fertilizer, use a mulching lawn mower, compost leaves and clippings, or bag them for yard waste collection
Use fertilizers sparingly and not right before it rains.
Please put litter in its place - NOT in the street.
This may be obvious but do you ever see people throw trash out of cars or on the ground? You surely don’t do that, do you? Litter on the street washes into catch basins and ditches, then ends up in creeks, streams, and the Mississippi. It harms water quality and wildlife. A tiny cigarette butt can take 25 years to break down! So, don’t litter, and tell others to keep their butts in the car!
Let’s Talk About Poop
No, really, let’s talk about poop. Does your family own a dog? Do you know other people with a dog? What do you think happens to all of the dog waste our pets leave behind on the sidewalk or in the street? Right...down the catch basin, into the storm sewer, and out into the Mississippi. When you think about how many people own dogs, this can really build up! Did you know dog waste contains bacteria that can harm people? Don’t worry, nobody has to give up his or her pooch. Pet owners can improve water quality by picking up after their pets and throwing their pet’s waste into a trashcan. It's also the law!
Pick up after your pet.