Water Pollution Caused by Stormwater Runoff
Stormwater runoff picks up pollutants from lawns and roads and carries them into local waterways. Contaminated stormwater runoff pollutes our freshwater resources and harms fish and other organisms that live in rivers and streams.
More water is being drained from freshwater aquifers than is being replenished in our area. This is a main concern for municipalities that depend on aquifers for drinking water. Because the available groundwater won’t be able to meet demand in just a couple decades, the City of Joliet has elected to build a pipeline to Lake Michigan in Chicago.
Native plants help conserve water since they require little watering once established. Many of our region’s native plants have deep roots that stabilize the soil and send rainwater down into the soil. This reduces both erosion of soil and stormwater runoff that can pollute nearby waterways.
Rain gardens are designed specifically to reduce flooding in your yard by directing rainwater falling on your roof into an area planted with water-tolerant native plants. Water collects here and then seeps into the ground with the help of the native plants.
Rain barrels allow you to collect and use rainwater as a resource. Reduce your water usage at home by using free, non-chlorinated rainwater to water your garden or wash your car.
Natural Lawn Care
Take care of your lawn naturally to prevent lawn chemicals from entering storm drains and local rivers when it rains. Reduce or eliminate your use of fertilizer, herbicide, and pesticide.
Mulch leaves into your lawn or add them to your compost pile to take advantage of nutrients in leaves. Those same nutrients that feed our plants also feed harmful algae in rivers and streams. By using leaves as a resource at home and keeping them off streets and out of storm drains, we can prevent excess nutrients from feeding algae that kill fish.
Keep the salt out of our freshwater rivers by only using the amount of salt needed to melt ice on your driveway and walkways. Adding more salt doesn’t add more melting power, so there’s no need to use any more salt than necessary.
Learn more at saltsmart.org
Landowners that practice good environmental stewardship and conservation of local resources are eligible for certification through The Conservation Foundation’s Conservation@Home or Conservation@Work program. Certified properties are awarded a sign, identifying its certification as a wildlife haven and environmentally friendly landscape.
Learn more about Conservation@Home at www.theconservationfoundation.org/conservation-home
How to Conserve Water Outdoors
Conserving water for lawn and garden care can dramatically lower your water bill. Here are a few tips for reducing water use outdoors.
Green Infrastructure: Rainwater Harvesting
From an at-home rain barrel to a large commercial cistern, rainwater harvesting is a form of green infrastructure that conserves water.
10 Tips for Conserving Water at Home
Repairing leaks, choosing high-efficiency appliances, and being careful to not run the tap are a few ways to conserve water at home.