Protecting Streams and Wetlands
Everyone, residents and businesses alike, can make a difference in protecting our water quality in Scott County and Minnesota.
Whether you are interested in protecting wetlands on your property or near your school or cleaning out trash in a local stream or at your favorite lake's access, common-sense and innovative ways are available to do so.
When it rains, water (runoff) that flows over roads, rooftops and parking lots picks up oil, chemicals and other pollutants and carries them into the storm drain system. This water entering the storm drain system is not treated at a wastewater treatment facility, instead draining directly into nearby streams.
Solutions are many, including porous (impervious) pavers, sidewalks or parking lots, raingardens, native shoreline plantings, vegetated roofs, rain barrels, down spouts or other stormwater runoff control strategies.
What can you do to help?
What can your business or school do to help?
- Properly dispose of used motor oil, paints and pesticides at the Household Hazardous Waste Facility, 588 Country Trail East, Shakopee (952-496-8787). Many auto parts stores also recycle used motor oil.
- Never dump anything down a storm drain. Storm drains carry untreated water directly to our lakes and streams.
- Keep your leaves and grass clippings out of the street. That way they won’t travel into storm drains and cause local drainage problems.
- Keep your automobile and your gas-powered lawn mower or blower well tuned so they do not drip toxic fluids.
- Do not use chemicals on your lawn before it is expected to rain. Or better yet, use organic or slow-release products, which are better for your lawn and for the environment.
- Be conservative with pesticides and herbicides (weed killers) and try natural alternatives when possible.
- Businesses and schools should develop a "spill response plan" and train employees on proper procedures to follow in the event of an accidental spill or discharge.
- Properly label all containers. All containers (even empty ones) should be labeled and stored with lids and under a roof or shelter.
- Use dry absorbent materials (such as kitty litter) to contain and clean up spilled chemicals. Then properly dispose of the waste.
- Verify that your floor drains are connected to the sanitary sewer system, not the storm drain system.
- Never wash spilled chemicals, trash or grease into a parking lot, off a loading dock or into a storm drain.
- Keep trash dumpster areas clean and lids closed.
- Wash vehicles in a proper facility (such as a licensed car wash) that disposes all water to the sanitary sewer system.
- Don’t apply lawn chemicals before it rains, and follow label instructions carefully to prevent over-application. Fertilizers or pesticides that are applied to your landscape can ultimately run off into local lakes and streams.
- Make sure landscaping wastes such as grass clippings and leaves are disposed of properly. Yard waste and debris can cause localized flooding problems, as well as other environmental concerns. If you use a landscaping company, ask about the company's practices.