Prevent Water Pollution: Only Rain Down the Storm Drain

Published on March 29, 2017

Our local waterways literally go with the flow.

That means rain water heads into nearby storm drains and then quickly ends up in local streams like Four Mile Run. Those streams flow into the Potomac River, the stormdrainsource for much of the region's drinking water.

So it's important to remember that runoff from your yard and driveway can quickly carry toxins such as motor oil, car soap, fertilizer and pet waste to the edge of our tap water system.

Some simple tips to preventing water pollution:

  • Dispose of used motor oil and household hazardous waste properly through the County Household HazMat drop-off and E-CARE events - the next is April 15 at Thomas Jefferson Middle School. Never pour them down the drain.

  • Limit fertilizer use. Try organic alternatives such as grass clippings and compost. If you use chemical fertilizer, autumn is the best time to apply. Use slow-release products and make sure you've read the label.

  • Scrub cars at a commercial car wash or in a location where the soapy water won't run into the storm drain.

  • Sweep up dirt, grass clippings and other yard waste for collection instead of washing them down the driveway and into the gutter.


Always pick up and properly dispose of your pet's waste around yards, sidewalks, parks and all public areas.

Help keep our waterways — and storm drains -- clean.