Do I live in a watershed?

Yes. Everyone lives in a watershed. The runoff from your home and yard eventually ends up in a nearby creek, river, or lake.


Do sanitary sewer systems and stormwater systems flow through the same pipes?

No. Sanitary sewer systems flow to a treatment plant, but stormwater systems flow directly into the creeks, rivers, and lakes without the benefit of treatment.  Watch H2O Jo Takes a Trip Down the Storm Drain to learn more.


Is it better to use a commercial car wash to clean your vehicle rather than washing it at home?

Yes. Commercial car washes typically use less water than you would use at home. In addition, they treat or recycle their wastewater; thus, keeping it out of our creeks, rivers, and lakes.


Can paint, solvents, and used motor oil be safely disposed of into a stormwater system?

No. Only rainwater should be entering the stormwater system. Anything else could be considered an illicit discharge and a violation of local, state, and federal laws. Tri-County Health Department provides information on how to dispose of Household Hazardous Wastes (HHW) in your community.


Are grass clippings, garden trimmings, and fallen leaves a source of water pollution?

Yes. These items generally contain a high percentage of fertilizers and chemicals, which impacts the quality of water. Organic materials such as grass clippings deplete the oxygen level in the water, which is harmful to aquatic life.  Yard waste can clog the storm drain system and cause flooding of neighborhood streets. Sweeping yard waste into the street or storm inlet could be considered an illicit discharge and a violation of local, state, and federal laws.


What is a storm inlet?

A storm water inlet is the metal grate and/or curb opening which allows surface water to enter the storm water drainage system.


Do storm drain inlets remove pollutants?

No. Storm drain inlets are connected directly to storm pipes that flow directly to our creeks, rivers, and lakes.


Where does street and parking lot drainage flow to?

Most streets and parking lots have a storm drain inlet at their lowest point and flow directly into a nearby creek, river, or lake.


Should pet waste be picked up only as a courtesy to others?

No. When pet waste is left on the ground or disposed of improperly, water quality and your health may be at risk. Pet waste can contain bacteria that are carried away in stormwater runoff that ends up in a nearby creek, river, or lake. 


Do all fertilizers and chemicals applied to lawns stay within the yard?

No. When it rains, fertilizers and chemicals run off your lawn and into the stormwater system and can be harmful to humans and animals. Test your soil prior to using fertilizers. Contact the Colorado State University Extension to have your soil tested.


Is there a monetary cost required to have cleaner creeks, rivers, and lakes?

Yes. The EPA requires local municipalities to develop a comprehensive program to protect our creeks, rivers, and lakes. This program includes public education and outreach, public involvement and participation, illicit discharge detection and elimination, construction site stormwater runoff control, post-construction stormwater management, and good housekeeping/preventative maintenance.


If I notice a foreign substance flowing into or see someone pouring something into a storm drain inlet…what should I do?

If you notice a foreign substance flowing into a storm drain inlet (especially motor oil or anti-freeze) or see someone pouring something into a storm sewer, please use our “Contact Us” page to find your local contact.  Complaints can be taken anonymously. Some of the questions you may be asked are: the location of inlet, the vehicle’s license plate (if available), time and date of the occurrence.


How can I help reduce stormwater pollution in my area?

Participate in the next creek cleanup in your area. Storm drain stenciling events – where the destination of storm water is clearly marked on the drain – are a fun way to let your neighbors know the storm drain is only for rain. Attend public hearings or meetings on the topic so you can express your concerns. Report stormwater violations when you spot them to your local government. Keep learning about polluted stormwater runoff and tell a friend!