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Improving Storm Water Quality

Residents can help alleviate storm water pollution in several ways:

  • Clean you driveway with a broom instead of a hose. This dry clean-up prevents debris from entering storm drain inlets and eventually streams.
  • Use cat litter to soak up leaked oil, which can be then thrown away in the trash once dry.
  • Have your soil tested. A soil test is an inexpensive and informative way to determine the quality of your soil. The laboratory will test soil pH, nutrient content, and percentage of organic matter. From these results, you can determine exactly what nutrients your lawn and garden need, which will help minimize the use of chemicals which can runoff into streams.
  • Use phosphorus-free lawn fertilizers. Phosphorus runoff from lawns is washed into streams and lakes, where it encourages algae growth. But only newly-seeded lawns or phosphorus-deficient soils (as indicated by testing) require phosphorus. When buying lawn fertilizer, look for the three numbers on the bag and choose products where the middle number is zero. This indicates that the fertilizer does not contain phosphorus (the other numbers indicated the amount of nitrogen and potassium, respectively).
  • Rinse paint brushes and rollers off in a sink or tub, and drop your extra paint off at the household hazardous waste facility for reuse.
  • Clean up pet waste immediately and throw it in the trash or toilet. Otherwise, disease causing pathogens in the waste can be transferred directly into streams.
  • Dispose of lawn waste in compost piles and use a mulching mower. Never place leaves or other lawn debris in waterways because it will cause a decrease in oxygen in waterways, killing fish.
  • Reduce the amount of paved area and increase the amount of vegetated area in your yard.
  • Use native plants in your landscaping to reduce the need for watering during dry periods.
  • Direct downspouts away from paved surfaces onto lawns.
  • Wash vehicles at full or self-serve car washes. Washing cars, RVs, or boats at home causes detergent laden water to run into storm drains and then directly into creeks. Remember, soap destroys dirt and organisms, it will do the same in creeks.
  • Report any illegal dumping into storm drainage inlets, such as soil running off of construction sites into drains, or falling septic systems.
  • Adopt a storm drain in your neighborhood by yourself or with neighbors, and take turns cleaning away debris from it after storm events.
  • Do not drain your swimming pool, spa water, or filter backflush water directly into a storm drain. Direct this water into the sanitary sewer or allow it to overland flow to a storm inlet after it has been dechlorinated.

Get Involved

  • See how people can help protect our waters by watching "Before the Storm".
    Jeremy Kashman, Carmel City Engineer, and Kent Ward, Hamilton County Surveyor, helped the Department of Natural Resources produce this helpful storm drain video.
  • Learn how to monitor stream waters at Hoosier Riverwatch
  • River Clean-Up, contact the Carmel Engineering Department for more information

Learn More with these Storm Water Fact Sheets

Upcoming Events

Come make a difference! Volunteer at the 20th annual White River Cleanup. The cleanup will be held on Saturday September 13th , 2014. A press release with event specifics will be issued prior to the event in late summer of 2014. In 2013, the City of Carmel participated in the Hamilton County White River Cleanup which removed 132 tires, 1.41 tons of recyclable metal, and 4.32 tons of trash from the White River.

Related Links

Protecting Storm Water Quality is a year round activity

The Upper White River Watershed Alliance highlights positive choices that Carmel residents can make in the following articles;

  • Springtime Choices
  • Resources for Going Green
  • Change Your Yard Routine
  • Fall Yard Care for Cleaner Water Article