Debris, chemicals, and solutions contained in runoff water enter storm drains and local water ways, untreated. It is imperative to limit the amount of pollution to keep our rivers and streams clean and healthy.
Choose a category below to explore related stormwater information and resources.
Urban runoff is one of the top sources of pollution to rivers and streams. According to the EPA, 70% of pollution to the surface waters comes from storm runoff. Other independent studies have shown that 50% of this pollution if from homeowners and individuals as a result of yard maintenance, landscaping waste, and chemical pollution from the household. In order to reduce the amount of sediment and toxins that reach the rivers and streams, creating an eco-friendly landscape at home is a necessity.
Drought resistant plants, permeable soil, water conserving irrigation, and surrounding surfaces that direct rain water to the plants. The strategies below can be used in a home or commercial landscape to ensure that runoff is minimized and water is conserved:
Stormwater runoff is one of the leading causes of water pollution, not only in California, but across the nation. Human activity has been shown to worsen the quality of stormwater runoff through the introduction of oils and grease, metals, fertilizers, pesticides, bacteria from pet waste, and many other harmful substances associated with human activity. One of the most effective methods for improving the water quality of tomorrow is by educating the children of today. As parents and teachers we can have a tremendous impact on the behaviors of future generations simply by educating our youth and showing them how their behaviors can affect the environment around them.
Illegal Dumping and Safe Trash Disposal
Madera County spends approximately $750,000 to $1 million per year collecting roughly 1,500 tons of illegally dumped material. Do your part to deposit trash in its proper place so that these funds will be directed to vital community services. It is illegal to dump trash on roadsides, vacant lots, in canals, along creek banks, or in open space areas. Fines for illegal dumping can range from $250 to $1,000.
Backyard burning is the burning of trash by residents on their own property. Paper, cardboard, food scraps, plastics, yard trimmings, furniture, and more are being burned instead of being recycled or sent to a landfill where the trash may be properly disposed of. Burning occurs in a burn barrel, homemade burn box, wood stove, outdoor boiler, or open pit. Dangerous air emissions from backyard burning are released directly to the atmosphere without being treated or filtered.
Below are several options to dispose of your trash in a safe way:
Pet Waste Disposal
Pet waste pollutes stormwater runoff and causes water quality to decrease. During a storm, pet waste that has not been properly disposed of is very quickly dissolved and washed away into storm drains which drain into local water ways. It may require more than one year for dog waste to decompose completely. In this time, the waste can be washed into the storm drains and into our local water supply.
Pet waste contains bacteria and excess nutrients that harm wildlife living in and near local water ways. Fecal coliform, the bacteria found in the intestinal tracts of humans and animals, exists in dog waste in amounts almost twice as high as humans. When this bacteria is introduced into local sources, it may cause disease and illness. Pet waste may also contain a variety of other bacteria and viruses. When humans come in contact with these, they are likely to become ill with symptoms, including abdominal cramps, fever or coughing. It is very important to make a habit of picking up pet waste and disposing of it in the garbage, or down the toilet to keep homes and community safe and healthy.
Fertilizers, herbicides, and insecticides have various ecological effects, toxicities, and chemical fate and transport based on the product’s chemical components. Depending on the chemicals’ characteristics, they can have unintended harmful effects on terrestrial and aquatic plants and animals, and can end up in our soil, water, and air.
Practicing proper fertilizer, herbicide, and pesticide application reduces the risk of these materials being transported by stormwater to downstream water bodies. Minimizing chemical use by employing Best Management Practices (BMPs) for both application and material handling helps to eliminate a significant cause of stormwater pollution. Some BMPs have the potential to reduce costs associated with grounds keeping and maintenance, while improving the aesthetics and vegetative health of grounds where they’re implemented.
Preparation and Handling BMPS
The following guidelines should be followed when preparing and handling chemicals:
Chemical Application BMPS
The following guidelines should be followed when applying chemicals:
Uncontrolled stormwater runoff from construction sites can significantly impact water quality within Madera County. As stormwater flows over a construction site, it can pick up pollutants like sediment, trash, and chemicals and transport them to storm drains or directly into streams and rivers. In an attempt to limit the amount of construction generated pollutants from entering local waters, the County of Madera is working with contractors to ensure the implementation of Best Management Practices (BMPs) at all construction sites. Best Management Practices are structural and/or behavioral tools that can be used to prevent pollutants from being mobilized in stormwater.
For additional information regarding BMP selection, installation, implementation, and maintenance, please visit the California Stormwater Quality Association website (CASQA.org) or follow the links below to a specific CASQA BMP Handbook. Please be advised that both the Construction and Industrial & Commercial Handbooks require an active CASQA membership to view or download.