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Stormwater Pollution

What is stormwater?
Stormwater is rainwater and melted snow that flows over land and pavement into storm drains and eventually into rivers and lakes. Stormwater can pick up pollutants such as oil, pesticides, fertilizers, and pet waste, and carry them into water bodies like the Big Darby Creek. These pollutants can harm aquatic life and make the water unsafe for swimming and fishing.

Sanitary Sewers vs. Storm Drains 
Runoff collected in a storm drain is not treated; it goes directly to water body, pollutants and all. A sanitary sewer goes to the waste water treatment plant where the water goes through a complicated process where it is cleaned and released back into the water. Storm drains empty directly into local water bodies without being treated. Stormwater pollution is a significant issue that affects the quality of our waterways and the environment. As a Plain City resident, you can take several steps to prevent stormwater pollution.

Consider these helpful tips to help prevent stormwater pollution:

Household waste
  • Household hazardous waste such as pesticides, cleaners, and batteries should be disposed of properly.
  • Do not pour them down the drain, flush them down the toilet, or throw them in the trash. Instead, take them to a designated hazardous waste collection site.
Washing the car
  • Do not wash your car on the street or in the driveway where soap and other pollutants can flow into storm drains. Use a commercial car wash or wash your car on a lawn where the water can be absorbed.
Pet waste
  • Pet waste contains harmful bacteria and should be picked up and disposed of in the trash. Do not leave it on the ground.
Landscaping
  • Blow leaves or lawn clippings from sidewalks and streets back onto the lawn, or bag them for collection by the Village.
  • Cover areas of bare soil with gravel, mulch, or native plantings to keep soil from being washed into storm drains. Soil and agricultural waste are the biggest pollutants in Ohio's streams.
  • When installing new vegetation, remember that native plants are better adapted to Ohio's weather conditions and require less watering and maintenance than non-native plants. They also help filter pollutants from runoff water.
  • Consider using a rain garden to control some of your property's rain water runoff. A rain garden is a beautiful way to support our natural habitats!
  • Only use fertilizers and pesticides as directed, and never apply them before a rainstorm. Consider using organic alternatives that are safer for the environment.
Trash
  • Make sure to dispose of all trash, including plastic bags, food wrappers, and cigarette butts in appropriate trash cans or bins. Do not litter!
  • Keep your trash cans closed and ask your hauler to exchange them if they are damaged or leak.
Storage
  • Anything that is stored outside must be properly covered, even if it is a natural product like sand, gravel, or bags of cement. A waterproof tarp may be all you need.
  • Keep cans, drums, and bottles tightly closed and check them regularly for leaks.
Reduce water use
  • The less water you use, the less runoff there will be. Install water-efficient appliances and fix leaks promptly.
Leaks and spills 
  • If you notice leaks from your car or home, or spills of chemicals or other substances, clean them up promptly using absorbent materials such as kitty litter or sand. Do not hose them down into the street or storm drain.
Paints and stains
  • Remember that paint cans are considered hazardous waste when they contain paint or stain. They can only be placed in the trash if the cans are empty or completely dry. We recommend removing the lids and letting the paint or stain dry prior to placing the cans in the trash.
  • Latex painting tools should only be washed and cleaned in sinks. Solvents are hazardous waste and may not be rinsed down storm drains or sanitary sewers.
Use non-toxic products
  • Consider using natural, non-toxic products such as vinegar and baking soda for cleaning instead of harsh chemicals. This reduces the risk of toxic chemicals ending up in the stormwater.
Dispose of old medicine
  • Do not flush unused medicines down the toilet. Instead, dispose of them in the trash (remove any personal information on the bottle), or participate in a drug take-back program.
Be a part of the solution!
  • Join local and regional efforts to clean up waterways and storm drains. Participating in cleanups is a great way to make a difference and raise awareness about stormwater pollution.
Stormwater Pollution Guides