Wow, the storms that rolled through Delaware County last week were real “frog stranglers.”
“Frog stranglers,” rainstorms that are so intense that even an amphibian could drown, are similar to “toad chokers.” Yes, it was certainly “raining cats and dogs” at times last week — real “gully washers,” you might say. Did you ever wonder what happens to all that runoff after a hard rain?
When it rains, water running off our roofs, driveways, sidewalks, and parking lots into our streets flows into storm drains and ditches, and begins its journey to the nearest waterway. Often, this water runs straight into a river or stream. Stormwater can pick up oil, other automobile fluids, trash, fertilizer, pet waste, and other pollutants, which is then discharged untreated into our streams (in many cases). Even when this water passes through a detention/retention pond or other stormwater infrastructure, pollutants are not entirely removed, making their way to aquatic habitats.
We swim, wade, kayak, and fish in these rivers and streams. Moreover, some people rely on water from these water bodies for their drinking water. The more pollutants that go into our streams, the more money we have to spend to cleanse the water for drinking. Reducing pollution is everyone’s job. Only rain should go down a storm drain or a ditch. So, what can each of us do?
• Sweep grass clippings and lawn care products back onto the lawn.
• Pick up trash.
• Wash your car at a commercial car wash.
• Absorb and clean up auto fluid spills.
• Fix leaking automobiles.
• Use drip pans to catch engine oil and other pollutants while repairing cars.
• Recycle used motor oil.
• Sweep driveways clean instead of hosing them down.
• When walking your pet, remember to pick up the waste.
• Record and report illegal dumping down storm drains.
• Don’t dump waste into storm drains or ditches.
• Water your lawn by hand, or adjust sprinklers to avoid over-watering. If any water flows off your lawn, you’re using too much water.
The old adage, “when it rains, it pours,” conjures up images like what we experienced last week in Delaware County. By following the tips provided above, we can ensure that rainwater doesn’t take chemicals or materials harmful to our environment along for the ride.
Learn more tips or how to get involved in protecting water resources at www.bethechangeforcleanwater.org/.