The leading cause of water quality problems today is from polluted stormwater. Unlike pollution from industrial and sewage treatment plants (which is more easily controlled), this type of pollution, also known as nonpoint source pollution, or NPS, comes from a variety of human activities on the land. It's the main reason that approximately 40% of the nation’s rivers, lakes, and estuaries are not clean enough to meet basic uses such as fishing or swimming. Each of us contributes to the problem without even realizing it.
NPS pollution is caused by rainfall or snowmelt moving over and through the ground. Paved surfaces like driveways, sidewalks and streets prevent rainwater from naturally soaking into the ground. Rainwater can pick up:
These pollutants can then flow into a storm sewer system or directly to a lake, river, or wetland, and eventually Long Island Sound.
Anything that enters a storm sewer system (i.e. a drain, catchbasin, ditch, etc) is eventually discharged untreated into the waterbodies we use for swimming, fishing, and drinking water.
Below are some links to information about how the Town manages stormwater.
Preventing stormwater pollution is up to all of us. Luckily, it’s easy to help out. Here are a few things you can do to keep our water clean.
Household Hazardous Waste
Recycle or properly dispose of household products that contain chemicals, such as insecticides, pesticides, paint, solvents, and used motor oil and other auto fluids. Never pour them onto the ground or into storm drains.
Bring household products to a Regional Household Hazardous Waste collection event. Click for more info on Household Hazardous Waste .
Use pesticides and fertilizers sparingly; avoid applying them before a rainstorm; keep them off of driveways and walks; and use organic, slow-release fertilizers.
Choose native plants and grasses. They require less water, fertilizer and pesticides.
Cut you lawn at the appropriate height. Cutting it shorter increases the need for water, fertilizer and weed control products.
Compost or mulch yard waste. Don’t leave it in the street or sweep it into storm drains or streams.
Compost your leaves or bring them to the Transfer Station.
Don’t bag grass clippings. Use a mulching lawn mower and naturally fertilize your lawn with the grass clippings.
Maintain a buffer strip of unmowed natural vegetation bordering all water bodies to trap excess fertilizers and sediment.
Wash your car at a commercial car wash that treats or recycles its wastewater, or on a grass or gravel area so the water infiltrates into the ground.
Check your car for drips and oil leaks and fix them promptly. Don’t hose down leaking fluids into the storm drain. Use kitty litter or sand to absorb and dispose of properly. Use drip pans if necessary.
Dispose of used auto fluids and batteries at designated drop-off or recycling locations including the Transfer Station.
Do not mix waste oil with gasoline, solvents, or other engine fluids. This not only contaminates the oil, which may be reused, but creates a material considered hazardous.
Never dump motor oil, antifreeze, transmission fluid, or other engine fluids down storm drains, into road gutters, on the ground, or into a ditch.
Scoop up pet waste and dispose of properly. Never dump pet waste into a storm drain.
Be part of the solution. It’s up to all of us to keep our lakes, rivers, and Long Island Sound clean. Polluted stormwater runoff can be reduced significantly if everyone incorporates these small preventative measures into their regular everyday activities.