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Citizen Fact Sheet

Reduce polluted urban runoff -- 10 things you can do to protect the waters of our streams, wetlands and Lake Superior:

The Regional Stormwater Protection Team (RSPT) has created a guidebook with some great suggestions for Service and Fundraising Projects Focused on Protecting Water Quality in the Twin Ports

Download here (1.2 MB pdf).

  1. Where does the water flow when it leaves your property? Get to know your watershed: the water that runs off your property flows via the streets, through the catch basins to storm pipes, or through ditches or even directly to some natural water source. Learn where the water goes and how to protect it.
  2. Pick up after your pet. Use a doggie bag when you walk your dog, clean your yard of animal waste and dispose of the waste in a trash can. This is expecially important if the waste is close to a street or water body.
  3. Minimize the use of fertilizers, herbicides and other pesticides. Investigate using natural pesticides and use the minimum fertilizer required. Use plants suited to the soils and climate of the region.
  4. Take your car to the car wash (they treat the wash water) or wash your car on the lawn where the water flows into the grass – don’t let wash water get to the street and storm drain. Keep your car in good condition so it does not drip oils or other fluids.
  5. Don't sweep or rake yard debris into the street. Collect it and compost it or use gravel to fill holes.
  6. Take advantage of WLSSD’s household Hazardous Waste recycling center. Properly dispose of paints, chemicals, motor oils. Never dump them in the bushes or pour these down the sink or toilet or in the catch basin (storm sewer, rain gutters)!!
  7. Never dump debris or garbage into a ravine or creek!! The material may kill fish or even block a stream causing flooding. In Duluth report blocked catch basins or garbage in the creeks to the City at 218-723-3551.
  8. Do not hose materials into the street. Report any spills or individuals putting materials down the storm drain.
  9. Landscape for the environment. Reduce the impervious surface on your property and replace grass with natural plantings – use natural plantings and trees to slow water flow. These steps reduce the need for fertilizer and watering. Investigate a rain barrel or water garden.
  10. Remember - Slowing the stormwater down, keeping it off of hard surfaces, and allowing it to infiltrate through as much soil as possible will greatly improve the quality of our streams and our groundwater.