In Suburban Areas, significant portions of the land area is covered by buildings and pavement which do not allow rain and snowmelt to soak into the ground. Instead, most developed areas rely on storm drains to carry large amounts of run-off from roofs and paved areas to nearby waterways. The storm water run-off carries pollutants such as oil, dirt, chemicals, and lawn fertilizers directly to streams and rivers, where they may seriously harm water quality.
What can Homeowners do? To decrease polluted run-off from paved surfaces, households can develop alternatives to areas traditionally covered by impervious surfaces. Porous pavement materials are available for driveways and sidewalks. Native vegetation and mulch can replace high maintenance grass lawns. Homeowners can use fertilizers sparingly and sweep driveways, sidewalks, and roads instead of using a hose. Instead of disposing of yard waste, homeowners can use the materials to start a compost pile. Homeowners can learn to use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to reduce dependence on harmful pesticides.
In addition, households can prevent polluted run-off by picking up after pets and using, storing, and disposing of chemicals properly. Drivers should check their cars for leaks and recycle their motor oil and antifreeze when these fluids are changed. Drivers should wash their cars by using facilities that recycle water.