Protecting Our Surface Water
How You Can Help
Adopt a Storm Drain at Adopt-a-Drain.org
Keeping the storm drain in the street clear of debris and snow and ice can help improve safety, prevent flooding, and improve water quality. 15 minutes of work twice a month is all it takes. Sign up at the Adopt-a-Drain website.
Become a WHEP Volunteer
The Wetland Health Evaluation Program, or WHEP, volunteer monitor the health of local wetlands using methods developed in partnership with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. Volunteers look at wetland plants and macroinvertebrates (small critters like bugs), and free training is provided. Visit our WHEP page to learn more about this program
Rainwater Harvesting - Rain Barrels
A simple way for you to help reduce the amount of excess runoff is to use a rain barrel for harvesting rainwater from your rooftop. A rain barrel is a container that is placed under a downspout to capture runoff from your roof. A quarter inch rainfall on the average home rooftop yields over 200 gallons of water. A spigot and hose can be attached to the rain barrel so the water can be reused for watering plants around your yard. Rain barrels, kits and instructions are available at some lawn & garden and home improvement stores. The Recycling Assoication of Minnesota (RAM) offers sale prices on rain barrels, usually in the spring of the year; Dakota County offers an additional discount on rain barrels sold through RAM. The City of Rosemount also offers a rebate for qualifying rain barrels and cisterns.
Raingardens are another way for you to help reduce the amount of runoff that enters the city's storm drainage system. A raingarden is a perennial garden with special types of plants, including trees and shrubs, that can tolerate short periods of saturated soils. With proper planning and planting, raingardens can intercept and infiltrate much of the runoff from your yard before it enters the city's storm system. The city recommends residents participate in the Landscaping for Clean Water Program if they are insterested in installing a raingarden and local grants. The city also offers a rebate for qualifying raingarden installations.
Tips for Lawn and Garden
- Use pesticides and fertilizers sparingly. Most soils in Minnesota and don't need additional phoshorus application; it is illegal in Minnesota to apply phosphorus fertilizers to lawns in most cases.
- Compost or mulch yard waste. Do not leave it in the street or sweep it into the storm drains.
- Cover dirt piles and mulch to avoid washing into the streets and storm sewers.
- Avoid using too much salt on driveways and walkways in the winter. This video from MnDOT explains the harmful effects of chloride in our water.
- Check out the University of Minnesota Turfgrass Webinar on Lawn Care Best Management Practices for more tips.
Tips for Automotive Care
- More oil washes down storm drains each year than was spilled by the Exxon Valdez oil tanker. Never place automotive fluids into a storm drain. Take motor oil and other automotive fluids to a service station or the The Recycling Zone for disposal (click here for details).
- Clean up spilled fluids with an absorbent material like kitty litter or sand. Do not rinse the spills into a storm drain. Remember to properly dispose of the absorbent material.
- Use a commercial car wash or wash your car on a lawn or other unpaved surface to minimize the amount of dirty soapy water flowing into the storm drain.
Tips for Construction
- Divert stormwater away from the construction site area.
- Install silt fences or other erosion-control applications around the perimeter of the construction site to prevent soil erosion and sediment deposition.
- Minimize the disturbed areas and cover (sod, mulch with seed, tarps) the area as soon as possible.
Tips for Home Repair and Improvement
- Locate and protect nearby storm drains from loose material and other debris.
- Sweep up and properly dispose of construction debris such as concrete and mortar.
- Purchase paint, solvents and cleaners in small amounts. Store them properly to avoid leaks and spills. Clean up spills immediately and dispose of waste properly.