Storm Water Awareness Program (SWAP)
Unlike the water in your house, rainwater – and the water we use on lawns & gardens – does not go to a wastewater treatment plant. Instead, this water runs off into storm drains and eventually reaches local lakes and streams. Anything picked up from this runoff or dumped directly into storm drains - litter, grass clippings, fertilizers, pesticides, motor oil, and sediment – also enters the natural environment. These pollutants can harm fish and other aquatic life and may enter groundwater supplies.
The SWAP program helps educate residents about the importance of keeping local waterways clean. As part of this effort, volunteers are recruited to mark storm drains with a “No Dumping - Drains to Creek” message and distribute educational material to area households.
Some facts about storm water pollution
- Wildlife can mistake litter for food and can become entangled or ingest it, blocking airways and systems.
- Pet and yard waste contain both bacteria and oxygen-consuming materials that lead to fish kills.
- Homeowners often apply much more fertilizer than necessary. Excess fertilizer can lead to algal blooms which kill everything in lakes.
- Americans improperly dispose – by illegally dumping into storm drains, directly on the ground, or discarding in landfills – of an estimated 200 million gallons of just used motor oil annually.
- One gallon of used oil has the potential to contaminate up to 1 million gallons of drinking water.
What can you do?
- Don't pour anything except water in a gutter or down a storm drain.
- Keep your neighborhood free of litter and yard waste.
- Properly dispose of pet waste.
- Fix your vehicle's oil leaks.
- Don't overuse fertilizers or pesticides.
- Use a mulching mower to reduce the need to fertilize.
- Take used motor oil and antifreeze to a recycling location.
- Wash out paint brushes used with latex paint in your household sink.
- Dispose of leftover paint properly. Visit the Household Hazardous Materials web page for more information.
Don't be a part of the pollution source! If you would like to help with this program visit our Volunteer Page.