Prevent Water Pollution

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Steps you can take to help prevent pollution

 

 concerned-man-on-phoneReport concerns.   Contact Us at 919-969-RAIN (7246)

If you observe non-stormwater entering storm drains, or if you smell sewage, detergents or chemicals coming from a pipe or ditch, please report your observations with exact locations.  There may be a sewage overflow, a cross connection where a sanitary sewer drain is plumbed into the storm drain, misuse of a storm drain, or a direct outlet from a household pipe.  

 

 Storm DrainRemember-- Only Rain Down the Storm Drain!  It's the law!
Storm drains lead to creeks and lakes with no treatment of runoff.  This means that what runs off the ground or gets dumped into storm drains ends up in our drinking water and wildlife and recreation areas. Toxins and nutrient overloads lead to contaminated water for people and for the wildlife living in or around our waterways.
Illicit discharges

 

On the Job: Make Clean Water your business where you work 

Mobile and Surface Washing Operations - Containment of Washwater 
(In Chapel Hill, Contact 919-969-RAIN)

Pool Maintenance

Restaurants

Painters

Auto Repair & Fleet Maintenance

 

 

 

Drain pipe in creek
Look for outlet pipes in creek banks on your property.  If found, trace the pipe to its origin and repair or re-route as necessary.  All inside drains must be connected with the sanitary sewer system by a licensed plumber.  Roof drains should not go directly into creeks. Especially found on older homes, roof drains may have been piped into creeks, causing property erosion and scouring of the stream.

 
 
downspout-redirectionIf your yard is large enough, disconnect roof drains and allow them to discharge into landscaped areas, cisterns, or rain gardens.  if not intercepted, runoff from roofs may contribute shingle particles and metals like aluminum, cadmium, chromium, copper, iron, lead and zinc to our waterways.

Learn more about downspout disconnection options.

 

carwashEvaluate outdoor washing practices to make sure that wash water or pool discharge is not going down storm drains or into creeks.  Ask service contractors for a wash water discharge plan before they start work. Detergents, paint, and chlorine kill aquatic life and impair water quality. Even “biodegradable” or “natural” cleansers are not safe for discharge into waterways.  Soaps, cleansers, and wash water are meant for disposal  in sanitary sewers (indoor drains) only.  

 

Before buying and applying fertilizer for your lawn, learn more about saving money, time and preventing pollution!  Consider using 0-Phosphate formulas, unless a soil test indicates otherwise.  Blow or sweep up fertilizer or grass clippings from sidewalks or roads and return to the lawn or compost.  Ask contractors to mow high with the mower chute facing the lawn. Grass clippings can improve soil and add nutrients. 



 

dogdooPick up pet waste and dispose of it in the trash. 
Your neighbors, shoes and waterways will thank you.

Reasons to pick up and properly dispose of pet waste

DogPooHappyNeighborsFINAL
Request a 6" x 9" sign for your neighborhood
 by calling 919-969-RAIN or by email.

 

 

 


Don’t Drip and Drive!
  Fix your car; recycle auto fluids and filters. 

Locations for recycling of auto wastes  Type in product type and zip code.




 


Reduce use of chemicals, and dispose of Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) responsibly. HHW includes used cooking oil and many other items in your home that may be toxic, flammable, caustic, or otherwise hazardous.
     
Orange County HHW Collection Center: Location, hours, items accepted

Recipes for non-toxic cleaners (We do not endorse commercial ads that may appear.)

Paint Cleanup

Integrated Pest Management

 

 

 

Chlorine will kill bacteria, but it will also kill aquatic life if it gets into streams.

Read about how to maintain your pool without polluting.  Brochure

 

 


Fix erosion in your yard, plant trees, and maintain stream buffers.

Trees Tame Stormwater—Interactive Poster from the Arbor Day Foundation
Plant native species of plants and remove invasives
Solve erosion problems at home (Fairfax County, VA)
Backyard Stream Repair

 

Not all properties in our community are connected to the sanitary sewer system. If you have a working septic system, be sure to have it pumped about every five years.  Poorly maintained septic systems can leach bacteria and waste into the ground and water.  
Septic system information  Orange County, NC


 

Separate sewer systems

In Chapel Hill and Carrboro, the sanitary sewer system is separate from the stormwater system.  OWASA manages local drinking water treatment and distribution, and provides sewage treatment for their customers.  Sewage travels through pipes placed along creeks for gravity flow all the way through our towns to the sewage treatment plant on Morgan Creek. Be careful what you place in indoor drains or flush down toilets - leaks, backups, and overflows of the sanitary sewer lines may occur when they are blocked by roots, grease, rags or personal hygiene products. This results in raw sewage entering creeks and storm drains, and is costly to customers, OWASA, and our environment.  
Orange Water and Sewer Authority (OWASA)
Protect Our Sewers
Video: It Pays to Change Your Ways
Video: Wastewater Management at OWASA

 

 

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