Stormwater Challenge Tips

Stormwater Challenge Tips

As the warmer spring weather approaches meltwater fills and challenges our storm systems.

Here are some tips for reducing stormwater runoff and keeping our waters clean and healthy for all the life they support:

Store chemicals above ground. Any chemicals that are stored in the basement or below ground level are subject to floods and groundwater saturation. When chemicals mix with water they may seep or leak into the groundwater and contaminate the water supply in the ground and on land causing changes to the physical and chemical characteristics of the water. (i.e. Hurricane Katrina -2005, Calgary Flood- 2013).

Here are some tips for reducing stormwater runoff and keeping our waters clean and healthy for all the life they support: 

Properly dispose of old and unused chemicals. When left unattended for long periods of time chemicals can be altered or leak, exposing dangers to the surrounding area. Ensure you keep track of chemical expiry dates and proper storage areas that cool and dry. When the chemical has expired take it to a local depot for disposal. Correct disposal is important to prevent the spread of chemicals in our soil, air or water.

Follow the three ‘R’s for chemical use. Ensure you use the Right Amount, at the Right Time and the Right Place for chemical use. Producing chemicals is expensive so it is good not to be wasteful (Right Amount). Take a look at the weather forecast before use to ensure good penetration of the chemical and that it won’t be washed away (Right Time). Check the area to be treated and have safe buffer zones (Right Amount).

Be mindful of safer and greener alternatives. Lawn chemicals can be substituted for more eco-friendly solutions, for example, substitute fertilizer for the use of topsoil, compost, or grasscycling to add nutrients or feed your lawn and garden.  Maintain balance to your yard by inviting insect predators to your yard with birdhouses (i.e. bluebird, purple martin), bat boxes, and water elements (i.e. frogs, dragonflies).

·         Follow the law and know the Bylaws. Pick up litter and dog feces to make your neighbourhood cleaner and more enjoyable for all. Recycle and compost what you can. Washing your vehicle or bike on the driveway or street is often against the law, wash it at a carwash where water is recycled and sent to the wastewater treatment plant before entering local waterways. Clean up leaking car fluids with an absorbent (i.e. sawdust, kitty litter or sand) and repair as needed, or use green transportation (i.e. walk, bike).

Practise Low Impact Development (LID) Techniques. LID techniques mimic the natural hydrological (water) cycle by managing stormwater where it falls and treats stormwater as a resource, not waste. LID best management practices work to slow the movement of stormwater and settle and filter it through rain gardens, green roofs, permeable pavement, bioswales, and absorbent landscapes. Rainwater harvesting (i.e. rain barrels, downspout to conveyance pipes) is another way to manage the stormwater flow.