Before the winter rains come, how will you get ready for rain?

The first significant rainfall of the year scours your streets and neighborhoods and will move everything in its path into local waterways. Heavy rain picks up and moves bacteria, oil and grease, sediment, fertilizers, cleaners, metals and other pollutants into the storm drain system, which then empties untreated into local creeks, rivers and the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. We can all get ready for rain and take action to reduce the amount of non-point source pollution coming from our homes, neighborhoods and businesses. Which of the following actions do you pledge to take?

Clean your storm drains and your street: Remove and properly dispose of any dead leaves, debris and trash on your property, your street and in your gutters. Cleaning up debris now ensures it won’t float away, down a drain and into the river! Already tackled your property but want to do more? Consider organizing or joining a group cleanup to maximize your impact.

Pick up pet waste: Rain water can wash pet waste and associated bacteria into local waterways. Rain can also cause pet-related bacteria to seep into groundwater. Yuck!

Properly store or dispose of paints, chemicals and fertilizers: Store these materials in a high and dry place to ensure they won’t get washed away. Need to dispose of these materials? The City and the County provide free drop-offs for these and other household hazardous wastes. Do NOT dump these materials down the gutter – storm drains are for rainwater only!

Inspect your sewer lateral: Now is the time to make sure you have no leaks! Not only will this prevent sewage from seeping out and into the groundwater, but it will ensure that rainwater can’t infiltrate your pipe and cause backups.

Orient downspouts so that they drain on to grassy or natural areas rather than hard surfaces: If you can “slow, spread and sink” that rainwater rather than let it run off and into a storm drain, you help prevent erosion, filter pollution and recharge groundwater!

Be a rain-smart gardener or landscaper: Avoid applying fertilizers before forecasted rain to reduce nutrient runoff, which is harmful to local waterways.

Taking action for a healthier river? Tell us how! Here at CWC, we are always eager to know what water quality actions you are taking and what we can do to help you take additional steps. Take our Water Quality Activity Survey and help us help you! Survey respondents will be entered into a raffle for a CWC swag bag prize!

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