What is storm water? Storm water runoff is generated when rain or a snowmelt event flows over the ground surface and does not soak into the ground. This runoff collects debris, chemicals, sediment, and other pollutants that can adversely affect water quality of streams and lakes if it is not treated beforehand.
2014 General Storm Water Brochure
2014 Construction Storm Water Brochure
City of Helena - Storm water system
What You Can Do
Residential - Recycle or properly dispose of household products that contain chemicals, such as insecticides, pesticides, paint, solvents, and used motor oil and other auto fluids. Don't pour them onto the ground or into storm drains.
Septic Systems - Leaking and poorly maintained septic systems release nutrients and pathogens (bacteria and viruses) that can be picked up by stormwater and discharged into nearby waterbodies. Pathogens can cause public health problems and environmental concerns.
Inspect your system every 3 years and pump your tank as necessary (every 3 to 5 years).
Don't dispose of household hazardous waste in sinks or toilets.
Auto Care - Washing your car and degreasing auto parts at home can send detergents and other contaminants through the storm sewer system. Dumping automotive fluids into storm drains has the same result as dumping the materials directly into a waterbody.
Use a commercial car wash that treats or recycles its wastewater, or wash your car on your yard so the water infiltrates into the ground.
Repair leaks and dispose of used auto fluids and batteries at designated drop-off or recycling locations.
Lawn Care -Excess fertilizers and pesticides applied to lawns and gardens wash off and pollute streams. In addition, yard clippings and leaves can wash into storm drains and contribute nutrients and organic matter to streams.
Don't overwater your lawn. Consider using a soaker hose instead of a sprinkler.
Use pesticides and fertilizers sparingly. When use is necessary, use these chemicals in the recommended amounts. Use organic mulch or safer pest control methods whenever possible.
Compost or mulch yard waste. Don't leave it in the street or sweep it into storm drains or streams.
Cover piles of dirt or mulch being used in landscaping projects.
Pet Waste -Pet waste can be a major source of bacteria and excess nutrients in local waters.
When walking your pet, remember to pick up the waste and dispose of it properly. Disposing the waste in the garbage is the best solution. 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.