600 Chief Justice Cushing Way
Scituate, MA 02066
Phone: (781) 545-8731
Fax: (781) 545-8704
Stormwater Pollution Prevention
What is Stormwater?
Stormwater is the water from rain or melting snow that flows across the ground (sometimes called ‘runoff’). Ideally, stormwater will infiltrate or seep into the ground. However, more often it will run off our driveways, sidewalks, streets, parking lots, roofs and even lawns ending up in storm drains and roadside ditches. From here it will flow into our local streams, rivers, lakes, ponds, wetlands and oceans.
What Contributes to Stormwater Pollution?
As stormwater travels across the ground it can easily pickup and carry with it pollutants that have been left on the ground. It can then carry these pollutants directly to the nearest waterway. Pollutants often found on the ground and commonly carried by stormwater include:
- Oil and antifreeze
- Sediment and leaves
- Animal waste
- Fertilizers and pesticides
- Car Washing Detergents
Doesn’t Stormwater Get Treated?
In most cases stormwater goes directly into the nearest waterway, pollution and all. Unlike wastewater, stormwater does not go through a treatment system. Anything picked up by stormwater runoff or poured directly into storm drains can enter the nearest waterbody. Because of this, there is a direct connection between your property and watershed actions and the nearest waterbody, making them more vulnerable to pollution.
Stormwater Regulations Have Been in the News Lately – What is the Town Doing?
There are a number of regulations that both the Town and those doing construction work within the Town have to follow. The Town of Scituate is working hard to remain in compliance and protect water quality by keeping pollutants out of stormwater. We must comply with Federal and State stormwater requirements, and we need your help.
As a Resident of Scituate – What Can I Do to Prevent Stormwater Pollution?
How you use your property and your watershed behaviors can significantly affect the health of local natural resources. Consider the following activities:
Storm drains and catch basins lead directly to nearby waterbodies. NEVER dump litter, yard, pet, or hazardous wastes into storm drains.
Learn more about stormwater and storm drains.
Storm Drain Fact Sheets:
Solutions To Pollution (EPA) - PDF
Storm Sewers (UWExt) - PDF
Waterways polluted by pet waste can result in exposure to harmful disease carrying bacteria and can result in beach and shellfish bed closures.
- Promptly clean up after your pet by picking up pet waste and disposing of it properly by throwing it in the trash or flushing it down a toilet.
- Remember to bring a bag with you on pet walks and to parks and recreational areas to collect waste and dispose of when you return home.
- Consider purchasing and installing a special pet waste composter.
Learn more about how to prevent pet waste from polluting stormwater.
Pet Care/Waste Factsheets
Pet Waste (MADEP)
Pet Waste and Water Quality (UWExt)
Lawn & Garden Care
Excess fertilizer and lawn products can runoff our lawn and into waterways, causing noxious algal blooms and excessive plant growth that can make swimming and boating unpleasant as well as kill fish.
- Test your soil every year to choose a proper fertilizer (if any) and apply it properly.
- Consider a low or no-phosphorus fertilizer or organic/slow release fertilizer.
- Compost to create your own fertilizer.
- Use fertilizers and pesticides sparingly and only when necessary.
- Maintain your lawn at a healthy height and reduce its size by planting gardens to decrease its need for fertilizer.
- Plant native species to decrease the need for fertilizers and pesticides.
Learn more about responsible lawn and garden care.
Lawn & Garden Care Fact Sheets
Fertilizer and Sourcewater Protection (MADFA)
Raingardens & Buffers
In addition to preventing pollutants from coming into contact with stormwater, raingardens can be installed to help stormwater enter directly back into the ground. Raingardens are simply deep gardens that are planted near rainwater collection areas – near downspouts, roof leaders and along driveways.
Learn how you can plant a raingarden with detailed instruction.
Another way to prevent polluted stormwater runoff from entering waterways is to plant native vegetation between lawns and waterbodies. Maintain a strip of densely vegetated land as a buffer between your property and nearby waterways to help protect it from stormwater pollution.
Learn more about landscape buffers.
Raingardens & Buffer Fact Sheets
Runoff from vehicle maintenance and washing activities contain harmful soaps, greases and road salt/sediment that can pollute stormwater. If you maintain and/or wash your vehicle on your property remember to:
- Wash it on grass or gravel instead of a paved driveway or lot.
- Maintain your car in covered areas, such as a garage.
- Promptly clean up spilled fluids such as oil and antifreeze and dispose of properly.
Learn more about vehicle maintenance and stormwater issues.
Car & Boat Maintenance Fact Sheets
Household Hazardous Products & Wastes
Household hazardous products and wastes such as cleaning agents, auto fluids, batteries and paints can enter the stormwater system if improperly used, stored and disposed of.
- Store in appropriate containers and away from precipitation.
- Consider alternative, more natural, less toxic products if possible.
- Dispose of material properly.
- If in doubt, contact the Town to see how you should dispose of material. Be mindful of local hazardous waste collection days.
Learn more about how to better manage common hazardous products and help prevent stormwater pollution.
Household Products & Wastes Fact Sheets
Septic System Maintenance
If you have a septic system, become familiar with its location and follow recommended maintenance and disposal practices.
Learn more about septic systems and nonpoint source pollution.
Septic System Maintenance Fact Sheets
The above topics address activities that can allow pollutants to accumulate until they are washed into the nearest storm drain and waterway. Can you imagine the chemicals, soap suds, and pet wastes appearing in lakes, streams and oceans, just as they had looked on your lawn or driveway?
Help protect Scituate’s recreational areas, natural resources, waterways, wildlife and public health by making some of the above simple changes to your everyday habits.
Click on the logos below for more information on stormwater and nonpoint source pollution.