Stormwater for Homeowners

Urban and suburban residents of Clark County can play a big role in preventing stormwater pollution. Keep the following in mind the next time you do the chores around your home.

How You Can Help


  • Select native plants that require less water, fertilizer and pesticide.
  • Plant pest-resistant species or species that attract beneficial insects.
  • Incorporate a wide variety of plants to disperse potential pest problems.
  • Mulch flower beds to reduce weeds and conserve water.
  • Hand pull weeds.
  • Compost lawn wastes instead of washing clippings or leaves down the storm drain.

Using Pesticides and Fertilizers

  • Always follow label directions for use and disposal. Remember, the label is the law.
  • Don’t apply them when rain is likely since most will be washed away. For the same reason, avoid overwatering after application.
  • Sweep any product from sidewalks and driveways onto the yard where it can do its work instead of hosing it away.
  • Use natural fertilizers such as compost or bone meal.
  • Use slow-release nitrogen fertilizer.

Pet Waste

The next time you take Fido for a walk:

  • Carry a plastic bag and pooper-scooper.
  • Flush waste down the toilet or place it in the trash

Automotive Maintenance

  • Keep your vehicle well maintained. Routinely check for leaks, and repair engine, coolant, transmission and brake systems immediately.
  • Soak up fluid spills with kitty litter, sawdust or wood chips. Be sure to sweep up and dispose in the trash.
  • Use a car wash to clean your vehicle. They recycle dirty water!
  • Do not “top off” when fueling your vehicle.

Household Hazardous Waste

  • Use and dispose of hazardous household materials properly – follow label directions!
  • Read labels and choose the least hazardous products and then use them sparingly.
  • Switch to safe alternatives.
  • Take unused household chemicals to the County’s Solid Waste Management District office located at 112 Industrial Way, Charlestown, IN 47111. Visit for specific for times chemicals are accepted and fees.

Septic Systems

  • Have your septic tank inspected every 3-5 years.
  • Compost your kitchen garbage instead of using a garbage disposal.
  • Don’t pour household chemicals down the drain. They can disrupt the septic system’s treatment process and contaminate groundwater.

Businesses such as restaurants, automotive services, construction firms, landscaping companies, and agricultural producers can also take steps to reduce runoff pollution, by:

  • Promoting recycling.
  • Keeping dumpster doors closed and covered in order to keep them clean and avoid leaks.
  • Using yard and deicing chemicals sparingly.
  • Covering or seeding exposed soil so it doesn’t erode.
  • Disposing of hazardous materials (paint, chemicals) at proper facilities (not the trash).
  • Storing and applying manure away from waterways.

Just as important as controlling stormwater pollution in your home or business is being able to recognize pollution occurring elsewhere. The links below will get you “in the know” about stormwater. Once you know all about it, you’ll be able to recognize and report pollution entering our stormwater such as:

Illicit discharges

According to the EPA, this is “a discharge to the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (see the Regulations page on this one) that is not composed entirely of stormwater, except for discharges allowed under a NPDES permit or waters used for firefighting operations.” In other words, an unapproved discharge of a substance/by-product into the stormwater system.

Sources of illicit discharges are:

  • Sanitary wastewater
  • Effluent from septic tanks
  • Car wash wastewaters
  • Improper oil disposal
  • Radiator flushing disposal
  • Laundry wastewaters
  • Spills from roadway accidents
  • Improper disposal of auto and household toxic

Illicit connections

An illicit connection occurs when a pipe intended for a sanitary sewer ends up in a storm drain.

Construction site runoff

Sediment (soil particles) contained in runoff from construction sites can cloud the water and make it difficult or impossible for aquatic plants to receive the sunlight they need to grow. Sediment can also fill in waterways over time, destroying aquatic habitat and leading to expensive dredging. Silt fences (the black plastic “fences” you see around construction sites) commonly used to control sediment, can cause polluted runoff if not maintained or if improperly placed (or not placed at all).