Storm Water Information
For more information on storm water, view the Lower Grand Watershed information, courtesy of Grand Valley State University.

What is a watershed? Click here for more information. Click here for a guide to reduce watershed pollution.
Information & Tips about Storm Water DrainsIncluding:

  • Car Care Tips
  • Pet/Animal Waste
  • Hazards in the Home
  • Septic Systems
  • Healthy Lawns & Gardens
CAR CARE TIPSVehicle fluids can be hazardous—small quantities washed into storm drains can contaminate water supplies and harm fish and wildlife.

Hazardous car fluids include:

  • Engine oil
  • Transmission fluid
  • Power steering fluid
  • Brake fluid
  • Hydraulic fluids
  • Radiator fluids

Motor Oil Disposal: Put the used oil in a sturdy container, label it, and take it to a local oil recycling location.

Clean-Up of Spills: Use kitty litter or sawdust to absorb spills of any of these types of materials. Sweep up the absorbent after a few hours.

Small spills can be placed in a plastic bag in the trash. Large spills (over 1 gallon of absorbent) must be disposed of at a household hazardous waste disposal center.
PET/ANIMAL WASTEPet waste has bacteria that can make our streams and lakes unsafe for swimming.

If left on sidewalks, streets, or yards, pet waste can be washed into storm drains which flow directly into streams and lakes. High concentrations of bacteria in water can cause human illness.

Pet Waste Disposal: Dispose of your pet's waste by double wrapping it in a plastic bag and throwing it in the garbage.

Avoid Feeding Waterfowl: Avoid feeding ducks and geese; feeding waterfowl is bad for them and can cause unnaturally high populations, creating more animal waste. Like pet waste, waterfowl waste contributes pollutants to our streams and lakes.
HAZARDS IN THE HOMEHazardous home products that are improperly disposed of can end up in nearby streams and lakes, harming fish and wildlife.

A product is considered hazardous if it is:

  • Toxic
  • Flammable
  • Corrosive
  • Reactive
Always check the label to see if a product is hazardous. The label may have a picture of a skull and cross bones or contain the words WARNING, CAUTION, DANGER, or POISON.

To protect our environment, follow these tips:

  • Use products in accordance with the manufacturer's directions.
  • Follow the proper disposal measures.
  • Do not dump products into the storm drain, which may flow to a nearby stream or lake.
  • Take any unused portions to your county's hazardous waste collection site.
  • Use non-toxic alternatives when possible.
SEPTIC SYSTEMSTypical septic systems have four main components:
  • a pipe from the home
  • a septic tank
  • a drainfield
  • the soil
The tank holds wastewater long enough to allow solids to settle out; remaining liquids exit the tank into the drainfield. The soil's microbes will digest or remove most contaminants from the wastewater before it eventually reaches groundwater.

If properly maintained, septic systems can provide long-term, effective treatment of household wastewater.

To prevent septic system failures, hire a professional to pump out your septic system every 3 to 5 years.
HEALTHY LAWNS AND GARDENSYou can help prevent pollution of nearby streams and lakes by following these healthy lawn and garden tips.

  • Select native plants suited for the site and climate conditions.
  • Mow your grass at a high setting and leave the grass clippings on the lawn.
  • Mix grass clippings with leaves and soil to make a backyard compost pile.
  • Use mulch (shredded leaves, grass clippings, or compost) to control weeds, retain moisture, and build fertile soils.
  • Reduce the use of insecticides, herbicides, and other chemicals on your lawn or garden.
  • Select a no-phosphorus or low-phosphorus fertilizer