Stormwater

Motor Oil Poster

What is Stormwater?

  • Stormwater flows directly into our rivers, lakes, streams and the ocean or into a stormwater system through a storm drain.
  • Storm drains are frequently located in parking lots and along the curbs of roadways. The grate that prevents larger objects from flowing into the storm sewer system is called a catch basin. Once below ground, the stormwater flows through pipes, which lead to an outfall where the stormwater usually enters a stream, river or lake.
  • In some areas, the outfall may lead to a stormwater management basin. These basins control the flow and improve the quality of stormwater, depending on how they are designed. They can also recharge groundwater systems.
  • In some urban areas of the state, the stormwater and sanitary sewer systems may be combined. Here both stormwater and sewage from households and businesses travel together in the same pipes and are treated at sewage treatment plants except during heavy rains. During these occasions, both the stormwater and untreated sewage exceed the capacity of the treatment plant, and this overflow is directed into local waterways.

What can you do to help?

Litter:  click here for the Litter Poster

  • Reduce, reuse and recycle materials whenever possible to create less waste, which could end up on our streets and contribute to stormwater pollution.
  • Pick up trash and litter on your property and put it in the trash. Always use a public trash can for trash in public areas. Recycle any reusable materials, especially cans, bottles and paper. NEVER throw litter and debris directly into storm drains. Such debris can wash into waterways and onto beaches, and clogged drains can cause street flooding and traffic congestion.
  • Always put your cigarette butts in ashtrays or solid garbage cans, not on the streets. Remember, our parks, playgrounds and beaches are not ashtrays. When an ashtray or garbage can are not available, store extinguished butts in your cigarette pack until you find a proper receptacle.
  • Empty automobile ashtrays into the trash, not out your car window or directly on the ground. Proper disposal will help keep our waterways clean and minimize the risk of fires.
  • Make sure to properly dispose of leftover household chemicals, paints and automotive fluids. These leftover chemicals should never be thrown away. Take them to a household hazardous waste collection center where they can be recycled. To find a center near you, visit https://www.co.ocean.nj.us/OC/SolidWaste/frmHHWP.aspx

Car Washes: click here for the Car Wash Poster 

The Car Wash Operators of New Jersey (CWONJ) and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) have teamed up to create a joint program to help charities raise money and improve New Jersey's water quality. Most fundraising car washes are held in parking lots that are not designed to treat stormwater runoff. Pollutants such as dirt, soap, and oil, generated from those car washes, run off the parking lots into storm drains, and eventually flow into our surface waterways and waterbodies untreated. Almost all storm drains found along streets and sidewalks are NOT connected to the sanitary sewer systems which lead to treatment plants.

Raise Money, Protect the Environment: Participating car washes will help your nonprofit organization or school, work with local, professional car washes to raise money without harming the environment. Participating car washes will offer their services at discounted rates and personally work with groups to meet their fundraising needs. Instead of holding a parking lot car wash, your organization will sell tickets at face value and receive 50 percent of all ticket sales.

How to start Fundraising: First, contact your participating local car wash to discuss your fundraising needs and confirm availability of offered services. If you have additional questions, contact CWONJ for more information.

In the Garden:  click here for the Lawn Poster

  • Your everyday activities can affect water quality. Help reduce the amount of pollution that flows into our waterways by following the tips below.
  • Conserve water. Do not over water your lawn. Adjust sprinklers if water runs into the gutter. Water during cooler times of the day.
  • Identify pests before spraying pesticides. Ask a specialist at your garden center for advice on how to treat for that specific pest. Use integrated pest management (IPM) methods to minimize chemical use in your garden. Many IPM methods do not even require the use of chemical pesticides.
  • Reduce the amount of grass by planting ground cover. This reduces the need for fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides.
  • Use natural pesticides such as milky spore and nematodes wherever possible. If you must use chemical pesticides, use them sparingly and in targeted areas.
  • Have your lawn tested at the county Rutgers Cooperative Research and Extension office to determine if you need to fertilize. If so, use natural and slow-release nitrogen fertilizers and make sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions. Never apply to your lawn or garden if the weather calls for rain.
  • Use a mulching mower instead of bagging grass clippings to reduce lawn wastes and to reduce the need for fertilizer. Do not put loose leaves or grass clippings in the street. Use them in a compost pile as a source for enriched soil. If you do need to dispose of leaves or grass clippings, contact your municipality to determine the appropriate method to dispose these wastes.
  • If you must use herbicides, apply them directly to the weeds rather than broadcasting if possible. A healthy lawn will reduce weed growth.
  • Use mulch on flower beds and gardens to prevent weeds from growing and to help absorb water.
  • Use drought-resistant native plants in gardens and beds. These plants require less fertilizer and less water, thereby reducing the amount of potential polluted runoff.

Pets:  click here for the Pet Poster

  • Your everyday activities can affect water quality. Help reduce the amount of pollution that flows into our waterways by following the tips below.
  • Pick up after your pet. Properly dispose of pet waste into the trash or toilet. Animal waste contains coliform bacteria, which is harmful to our health and, when washed into swimming waters, can result in beach closings.
  • Carry a newspaper or plastic bag to pick up the waste when you walk your pet. Nuisance laws prohibit you from allowing your pet's waste to remain on private or public land.
  • When treating your pet and yard for fleas or ticks, check with your veterinarian for safe substitutes. Never dispose of flea dip liquid on the ground or in the storm drain. It should be disposed of as a household hazardous waste. Visit https://www.co.ocean.nj.us/OC/SolidWaste/frmHHWP.aspx for a list of county household hazardous waste disposal centers.
  • Do not feed wildlife such as geese, pigeons, ducks and deer. Feeding results in more pollution from their wastes.

In Your Home:

  • Shop for nonhazardous, biodegradable and phosphorous-free household cleaning products.
  • If you use water-based paints, rinse paint brushes in the sink. If you use oil-based paints, you can filter and reuse the thinner used to clean brushes. Dispose of thinner through a local household hazardous waste program. Visit https://www.co.ocean.nj.us/OC/SolidWaste/frmHHWP.aspx for a list of local household hazardous waste facilities.
  • Sweep up dirt and debris and discard on your lawn or in the trash. Hosing off pavement washes pollutants into storm drains, which may lead to local creeks, bays and the ocean.
  • Rather than wash your car in your driveway, on the street or in your yard, take it to a local car wash. This not only conserves water but also eliminates the running off of harmful pollutants.
  • Keep trash cans closed to prevent trash from scattering.
  • If you use hazardous substances such as paints, solvents and cleaners, use them sparingly, according to the directions. Store properly to avoid spills.
  • If you are working on a home improvement project, dispose of drywall and hardened concrete and mortar in the trash or visit www.nj.gov/dep/dshw/lrm/classb.htm for a list of recycling centers. Do not rinse concrete or mortar from a bucket or wheelbarrow into the street; dilute the mixture with water and rinse it into an area with vegetation or gravel.
  • Participate in local recycling programs. To find out more about recycling in your area, visit www.state.nj.us/dep/dshw/recycling/index.htm.
  • Dispose of unwanted chemicals at a household hazardous waste collection center in your area. Never pour hazardous materials into the street, sewer or the storm drain. For more information, visit https://www.co.ocean.nj.us/OC/SolidWaste/frmHHWP.aspx
  • Eliminate or, at least, reduce the use of soaps and shampoos when using outdoor showers that drain to the street.