So what can you do to help protect surface and ground waters from so-called nonpoint-source pollution? You can start at home. Begin by taking a close look at practices around your house that might be contributing to polluted runoff: You may need to make some changes.
Compost your yard trimmings:
Compost is a valuable soil conditioner which gradually releases nutrients to your lawn and garden
In addition, compost retains moisture in the soil and thus helps you conserve water
If you elect to use a professional lawn care service, select a company that employs trained technicians and follows practices designed to minimize the use of fertilizers and pesticides
Keep storm gutters and drains clean of leaves and yard trimmings:
Decomposing vegetative matter leaches nutrients and can clog storm systems and result in flooding
Leave lawn clippings on your lawn so nutrients in the clippings are recycled and less yard waste goes to landfills
Preserve existing trees, and plant trees and shrubs to help prevent erosion and promote infiltration of water into the soil
Spread mulch on bare ground to help prevent erosion and runoff
Test your soil before applying fertilizers:
Avoid using fertilizers near surface waters.
Over-fertilization is a common problem, and the excess can leach into ground water or contaminate rivers or lakes.
Do not apply pesticides or fertilizers before or during rain due to the strong likelihood of runoff
Use landscaping techniques such as porous walkways to increase infiltration and decreased runoff
When landscaping your yard, select plants that have low requirements for water, fertilizers, and pesticides