Healthy Household Habits
Our daily actions affect the environment.
When it rains, storm water runoff flows over driveways, lawns and sidewalks, picking up debris, chemicals, dirt and other pollutants. This polluted rainwater flows to a storm drain or directly into a waterway that our communities use for swimming, fishing and providing drinking water. Storm water pollution can harm wildlife and public health.
You can help us protect our waterways
Apply these simple best practices to help prevent storm water pollution.
- Wash construction tools and containers on an unpaved surface - never in a storm drain.
- Contact your waste hauler and/or local landfill for proper disposal methods for debris such as concrete and mortar.
- Clean paintbrushes in a sink, not outdoors. All excess paint should go back into the paint can first. If using paint thinner to clean brushes, set the used thinner aside in a closed jar to settle paint particles. Once settled, pour off the clear liquid for future use, mix the residue with kitty litter, place residue mixture in a plastic bag and dispose of in the trash.
- Dispose of unused latex/water-based paint through the regular trash. The paint must be solidified first. Take the lid off and mix in kitty litter, sawdust, or shredded newspaper to achieve this. Leave the lid off so the waste collectors can see the paint is solid. Oil-based paint must be dropped off at a household hazardous waste collection event or taken to an environmental disposal company to be disposed of. You can also donate leftover paint to local organizations.
Lawn and Garden
- Use pesticides and fertilizers sparingly, and follow directions on the label to apply only the recommended amounts. If fertilizers and pesticides are applied too heavily, excess nutrients and chemicals can be washed into local waterways and could cause algal blooms.
- Incorporate native grasses and plants into your landscaping that are adapted to the local environment and are less likely to need supplemental nutrients.
- After working on your lawn, clean up yard debris and dispose of it properly. Do not dump debris in drainage swales, storm drains or the street.
Cover exposed soil/sediment piles with a tarp to prevent it from washing into the street and storm drains when it rains.
- Bacteria from pet and animal waste constitute a major pollutant of concern in Northern Kentucky’s waterways. While we cannot control the waste that comes from wildlife, we can control the environmental impact of our pet waste. When walking your pet, remember to pick up waste and dispose of it in a trash receptacle.
Septic System Use and Maintenance
- Have your septic system inspected and pumped by a professional at least every three years.
- Only plant grass over and near the drain field to avoid potential root damage. Do not drive or park vehicles on your septic system drain field.
- Avoid destroying the biological treatment process or clogging your septic system by not flushing household chemicals like paint, pesticides, oil and antifreeze, or disposing items such as diapers, paper towels and cat litter down your toilet or other drains.
Swimming Pool and Spa
- Filter backwash water or discharge from chlorine pools and spas should be discharged to the wastewater sewer system via an indoor floor drain. If that’s not possible, you can discharge the water to the storm water system or onto your yard if it’s free of chlorine, algaecides and other pollutants. Water from salt water pools must discharge to the wastewater sewer system or an area that does not directly drain to the storm water system.
- Store pool and spa chemicals in a covered area (to avoid exposure to rainfall) according to the instructions on the label to help prevent leaks and spills.
Vehicle and Garage
- Wash your car on your lawn or another unpaved surface, or visit a commercial car wash facility to reduce the amount of dirty, soapy water flowing into the storm drains.
- Check your car, boat, motorcycle, machinery and other equipment for leaks and spills often and make repairs immediately.
- Clean up any spills with an absorbent material like kitty litter or sand, and don’t rinse spills into a nearby storm drain.
- If you change the oil in your vehicle at home, recycle the used oil at participating service stations. Never dump used oil or other fluids down a storm drain or dispose of them in your trash.