Homeowners

Best Management Practices For:

Residential Homeowners and Property Owners

As stormwater flows over driveways, lawns, and sidewalks, it picks up debris, chemicals, dirt, and other pollutants. Stormwater can flow into a storm sewer system and eventually to Lake Mead used for swimming, fishing, and providing drinking water. Polluted runoff is the nation’s greatest threat to clean water. Reducing the quantity of pollutants and improving the quality of stormwater runoff in the Las Vegas Valley can start with individual homeowners. By implementing the following Best Management Practices (BMPs), homeowners can significantly reduce pollutants like pesticides, pet waste, grass clippings, and automotive fluids off the ground and out of stormwater. Adopt these healthy household habits and help protect the Las Vegas Wash and Lake Mead.

Lawn and Gardens

  • Use fertilizers sparingly. Many plants do not need as much fertilizer or need it as often as you might think.
  • Don't fertilize before a rain storm.
  • Consider using organic fertilizers; they release nutrients more slowly.
  • Use commercially available compost or make your own using garden waste. Mixing compost with your soil means your plants will need less chemical fertilizer and puts your waste to good use. Commercial compost and soil amendments may be available from your local garden store.
  • Dispose grass clippings and leaves from washing into the storm sewer.
  • Follow recommended watering practices. Avoid excess watering and don’t sprinkle water onto paved sidewalks.
  • Select native plants and grasses that are drought- and pest resistant. Native plants require less water, fertilizer, and pesticides
  • Follow application instruction on fertilizers

Car Washing

  • If soap is used use biodegradable soap and as little as possible. Shut off the hose while washing your car and then rinse.
  • Use a hose nozzle with a trigger to save water.
  • Pour your bucket of soapy water down the sink when you're done, not in the street, or wash your car on a grassy area so the ground can filter the water naturally.
  • Best of all, take your car to a commercial car wash. Most car washes reuse wash water several times before sending it to the sewer system for treatment.

Car Repair

  • Check your car, boat, motorcycle, and other machinery and equipment for leaks and spills. Make repairs as soon as possible.
  • Clean up spilled fluids with an absorbent material like kitty litter or sand. Don’t rinse spills. If water is needed try cleaning with a wet rag. Remember to properly dispose of the absorbent material.
  • Never dispose of oil or other engine fluids down the storm drain, on the ground or into a ditch.

Used Motor Oil

  • Did you know used oil can be re-refined into re-usable lubricating oil?
  • Reprocessing one gallon of used motor oil and burning it as fuel generates enough electricity to power everything in your home for a day.
  • In Clark County, homeowners can recycle used motor oil by placing it in an empty one gallon plastic container with a secure lid and place it next to your curb side recycling bins on pick-up days.
  • LIMIT: Two 1 gallon containers per recycle pickup.
  • Also, many auto supply stores and gas stations will accept used oil.
  • Find Motor Oil Recycling Sites by Zip Code link here

Pet Waste

  • By not cleaning up your pet's waste, whether it is in the grass, along a trail or near the street you are contributing to water pollution.
  • Pet waste may be washed into storm sewers by rain, melting snow or sprinklers. Our storm sewer system drains without treatment to the Las Vegas Wash and Lake Mead - our primary source of drinking water.
  • Pet waste that enters the Las Vegas Wash and Lake Mead decays and uses up oxygen and sometimes releases ammonia. Low oxygen levels and ammonia combined with warm temperatures can kill fish. Pet waste can also carry diseases which can contaminate water and make it unsafe for swimming and drinking.
  • When pet waste is not picked up and properly disposed of pets, children who play outside, and adults who garden are most at risk for infections from the bacteria and parasites found in pet waste.

Home Repair and Improvement

  • Before beginning an outdoor project, locate the nearest storm drains and protect them from debris and other materials.
  • Sweep up and properly dispose of construction debris such as concrete and mortar.
  • Use hazardous substances like paints, solvents, and cleaners in the smallest amounts possible, and follow the directions on the label. Clean up spills immediately, and dispose of the waste safely. Store substances properly to avoid leaks and spills.
  • Purchase and use nontoxic, biodegradable, recycled, and recyclable products whenever possible.
  • Clean paint brushes in a sink, not outdoors. Filter and reuse paint thinner when using oil-based paints. Properly dispose of excess paints through a household hazardous waste collection program, or donate unused paint to local organizations.
  • Reduce the amount of paved area and increase the amount of vegetated area in your yard. Use native plants in your landscaping to reduce the need for watering during dry periods. Consider directing downspouts away from paved surfaces onto lawns and other measures to increase infiltration and reduce polluted runoff.
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