Stormwater Index

What can You Do To Improve the Quality of Stormwater Runoff?

What Can You Do To Improve the Quality of Stormwater Runoff?


Yard Care

  • Fertilize Responsibly

    • Test soil before applying fertilizer. Contact Cayuga County Cornell Cooperative Extension for more information on soil testing at 315-255-1183.

    • Only apply lawn fertilizer in the fall when grass needs the nutrients to develop a strong root system.

    • Use only 0-phosphate fertilizer unless a soil test indicates the need for low phosphorus fertilizer.

    • Calibrate your spreader.

    • Sweep excess fertilizer back onto the lawn.

    • For information on reducing use of pesticides on your lawn and getting a great lawn in five easy steps, click here.

  • Properly dispose of yard waste.

    • Leaves and grass can add nutrients to waterbodies. Keep yard waste out of ditches, streets, storm drains and waterbodies by composting your leaves and leaving grass clippings on your lawn.

  • Plant any bare areas of your yard

  • Cover piles of dirt and mulch to prevent blowing or washing off of your yard.

  • Do not overwater your lawn.

  • For more information on landscaping for water quality, visit the Green Thumbs for Blue Water Website

Vehicle and Garage Maintenance

  • Wash your car at a commercial car wash or on a lawn or other unpaved surfaces where the soapy water can be absorbed. Use as little soap as possible.

  • Check for leaks from your vehicles. Clean up leaked or spilled fluids with an absorbent material such as sand or kitty litter. Once kitty litter, sand or any other solid material is used, it is considered a solid waste and should be disposed of at a landfill or other solid waste management facility permitted to accept municipal solid waste. One exception is if the absorbent contains hazardous materials. In that event, it may need to be handled and disposed of as a hazardous waste.

  • Recycle used oil and other fluids at participating service stations. For a fact sheet on places to take used oil and antifreeze, click here

  • Avoid cleaners and detergents that contain phosphorus.

Home Repair and Improvement

  • Protect storm drains from debris and other materials.

  • Sweep up and properly dispose of construction debris.

  • Purchase and use non-toxic, recycled, biodegradable, and recyclable products whenever possible.

  • Use only small amounts of hazardous substances and store properly to prevent spills.

  • Reduce amount of paved areas and increase the amount of vegetated area in your yard. Consider directing downspouts onto lawns to increase infiltration and reduce runoff.

Pet Waste

  • Pet waste contains nutrients such as phosphorus and bacteria.

  • Clean up after your pet. Dispose of waste in either the toilet or place in garbage.

  • Convenient pet waste disposal stations are available at several local parks in the Cayuga and Owasco Lake Watersheds

Septic Systems

  • Maintain your septic system. In Cayuga County it is recommended to have have your septic system cleaned every three to five years.

  • Flush responsibly. Do not dispose of household hazardous waste in sinks or toilets. To find out what to do with household hazardous wastes, visit the Cayuga County Solid Waste Management Website.


Stormwater Index

Some Information Provided by: "Making Your Home the Solution to Pollution" and "After the Storm: A Citizen's Guide to Understanding Stormwater" by the United States Environmental Protection Agency

Page updated on April 6, 2011