Nassau County is among the most developed areas in New York State. Concentrated development in urbanized suburban areas substantially increases impervious surfaces, such as paved streets, driveways, parking lots and sidewalks on which pollutants settle and remain until a storm event washes them into nearby storm drains.
As a result, surfaces constructed with impervious materials like concrete and asphalt create large amounts of “dirty” stormwater runoff during precipitation. After precipitation, stormwater runoff flows over these impervious surfaces collecting and transporting pollutants such as excess nutrients from fertilizer, litter, salts, pesticides, petrochemicals/oils, and
bacteria/pathogens from animal waste. Stormwater is then directly discharged untreated, into streams, lakes and bays.
The water quality of these receiving waterbodies is of major concern. This translates into real socioeconomic impacts to our region due to harmful algae blooms, fish kills, sediment erosion and beach closure due to bacterial contamination. Ongoing development presents the need for consideration towards its impact on the water quality in Nassau County.
Stormwater Pollution and Green Infrastructure Solutions
The Nassau County Soil and Water Conservation District and NYSDEC have produced an educational film: Stormwater Pollution and Green Infrastructure Solutions. This film highlights stormwater runoff impacts throughout New York State and showcases several green infrastructure solutions to help mitigate these issues associated with stormwater runoff pollution.
To view the film, please click play below, or click here to be redirected to our YouTube page
The Nassau County Soil and Water Conservation District and NYSDEC have produced an educational film; Stormwater Pollution and Green Infrastructure Solutions. This film highlights stormwater runoff impacts throughout New York State and showcases several green infrastructure solutions to help mitigate these issues associated with stormwater runoff pollution. The goals of this film are to educate the public, municipal officials and developers about stormwater pollution and to encourage the use of green infrastructure, smart growth principles and best management practices to help curb these impacts.
New York State has some of the most developed areas in the US. As a result, surfaces constructed with impervious materials like concrete and asphalt create large amounts of “dirty” stormwater runoff during precipitation events. After precipitation, stormwater runoff flows over these impervious surfaces collecting and transporting pollutants such as excess nutrients, litter, petrochemicals, and bacteria/pathogens from animal waste. Stormwater is then directly discharged into streams, lakes and bays via a Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4). The water quality of these receiving waterbodies is of major concern due to high concentrations of pollutants that are transported and deposited by stormwater runoff. This translates into real socioeconomic impacts to our region due to harmful algae blooms, fish kills, sediment erosion and beach closure due to bacterial contamination.
Stormwater Management Practices
Vehicle and Garage
- Use a commercial car wash or wash your car on a lawn or other unpaved surface to minimize the amount of dirt, soapy water flowing into the storm drain and eventually into your local waterbody.
- 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, and don’t rinse the spills into a nearby storm drain. Remember to properly dispose of absorbent material.
- Recycle used oil and other automotive at participating service stations. Don’t dump these chemicals down the storm drain or dispose of them in your trash.
Lawn and Garden
- Use pesticides and fertilizers sparingly. When use is necessary,use these chemicals in the recommended amounts. Avoid application if the forecast calls for rain; otherwise, chemicals will be washed into your local stream.
- Select native plants and grasses that are drought and pest resistant. Native plants require less water, fertilizer, and pesticides.
- Sweep up yard debris, rather than hosing down areas. Compost or recycle yard waste when possible.
- Don’t over-water your lawn. Water during cool times of the day, and don’t let water run off into the storm drain.
- Cover piles of dirt and mulch being used in landscaping projects to prevent these pollutants from blowing or washing off your yard and into local waterbodies. Vegetate bare spots in your yard to prevent soil erosion.
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 paint, 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 pollinated runoff.
- When walking your pet, remember to pick up the waste and dispose of it properly.Flushing pet waste is the best disposal method. Leaving pet waste on the ground increases public health risks by allowing harmful bacteria and nutrients to wash into the storm drain and eventually into local waterbodies.
Swimming Pool and Spa
- Drain your swimming pool only when a test kit does not detect chlorine levels.
- Whenever possible, drain your pool or spa into the sanitary sewer system.
- Properly store pool and spa chemicals to prevent leaks and spills, preferably in a covered area to avoid exposure to stormwater.
Septic System Use and Maintenance
- Have your septic system inspected by a professional at least every 3 years, and have the septic tank pumped as necessary (usually every 3 to 5 years).
- Care for the septic system drainfield by not driving or parking vehicles on it. Plant only grass over and near the drainfield to avoid damage from roots.
- Flush responsibly. Flushing household chemicals like paint, pesticides, oil and antifreeze can destroy the biological treatment taking place in the system. Other items, such as diapers, paper towels, and cat litter, can clog the septic system and potentially damage components.
Remember: Storm drains connect to our waterways!