Stormwater runoff is generated from rain and snowmelt events that flow over land or impervious surfaces, such as paved streets, parking lots, and building rooftops, and does not soak into the ground. The runoff picks up pollutants like trash, chemicals, oils, fertilizer/herbicides, pet waste, yard waste and dirt/sediment that can harm our rivers, streams, lakes, and coastal waters.

To protect these resources, communities, construction companies, industries, and others, use stormwater controls, known as best management practices (BMPs). These BMPs filter out pollutants and/or prevent pollution by controlling it at its source.

Yard Waste

Many homeowners and landscape maintenance companies are guilty of sweeping or blowing yard waste, like grass clippings and fallen tree leaves, in the street or down the storm drain. When it rains, yard waste left in streets, on sidewalks, or in driveways will wash into nearby storm drains. Once in the storm drain system, the yard waste can enter local bodies of water without being treated or cleaned.

The problem

While grass clippings, tree leaves, and other yard waste are natural, they still pollute our local waterways. Yard waste breaks down or decomposes in a local creek, stream, river, or lake, it depletes the oxygen in the water. Aquatic life, such as fish, need oxygen to survive. If oxygen levels become too low, fish and other aquatic life cannot survive.

Pet Waste

Pet waste is not only smelly and unsightly, but it is a health risk to pets and people, and creates water quality issues too. When walking your dog, always carry a plastic baggie to scoop up the waste. Dispose of sealed baggies in the trash. Clean up dog waste in your yard at least once a week, and either flush it down the toilet or dispose of it in the trash.

Tips for Dealing with Pet Waste

  • Flush it. Pick up the waste with a pooper scooper or slip a plastic bag over your hand. Flush the waste down the toilet (do not flush the plastic bag).
  • Toss it (in a trash can). Collect the waste in a plastic bag, tie the end securely, and toss it in your trash can.
  • Bury it. Scoop the waste and bury it at least six inches in the ground and away from gardens and water sources.
  • Attach a small bag or pouch to your dog's leash so that you can always carry a supply of baggies. Be creative in reusing materials for picking up pet waste. Save plastic bread bags, plastic newspaper sleeves, or plastic produce bags and use them as scooping baggies.
  • Clean up droppings around the yard at least once a week. Either flush them down the toilet, or dispose of them in a secured baggie in the trash can. Pet waste composters are also available commercially, so check those out.

For more information on yards waste, mulching, soil improvement, and composting, Check out:

For more information on Texas Commission of Environmental Quality, check out :

Fats, Oils and Grease (FOG)

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