Your Contribution to Stormwater

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10 easy ways you can contribute to the county's stormwater management program

Human activity can harm the health of our local streams, rivers and ponds. What we do daily directly corresponds to water quality in Cecil County. We all have a responsibility to keep our water clean and strive to improve water quality.

This page contains numerous suggestions on ways we can all reduce stormwater pollutants and improve water quality.

1. Store, use and dispose of hazardous materials properly.

When not handled correctly, hazardous materials will infiltrate groundwater and permeate the air, which will leave absorption in human skin a very dangerous scenario causing many negative health affects.

2. Wash your car responsibly.

  • Wash only when necessary to reduce water entering the stormwater system.
  • Wash your car on grass instead of pavement.
  • Use biodegradable detergents.

If not done responsibly, car washing will lead to excess water and nutrients (contained in some detergents) entering the stormwater system.

3. Add landscaping and maintain correctly.

  • Plant trees, shrubs and ground cover to increase water absorption and reduce erosion.
  • Pave minimally in the driveway and consider wood decking, bricks, or stones for walkways so that impervious area is not enlarged.
  • Direct downspouts to the lawn, garden, landscaping or a rain-barrel and away from impervious landscapes.
  • Plant native vegetation that requires less water and care.

When impervious area is increased and vegetation is decreased, water will not adequately filter through the ground to the water supply.

4. Reduce the attractiveness of a stormwater management facility to waterfowl.

  • Waterfowl waste pollutes the water, causing algae blooms resulting in eutrophication. Do not feed the geese.

Waterfowl waste results in excessive nutrients and a depletion in the amount of oxygen available on aquatic life.

5. Conserve Water daily.

  • Reduce the amount of water by taking shorter showers.
  • Install a low-flow shower head.
  • Install faucet aerators in the kitchen and bathroom sinks.
  • Use the dishwasher and washing machines for full loads only.
  • Install low flush toilets, or a device to displace some of the water needed to fill the tank.
  • Fix leaky faucets.

Excessive water use reduces wastewater treatment facilities capabilities to effectively treat waste water, and private septic systems ability to handle their designed waste load.

6. Maintain your septic system.

  • Use biodegradable toilet paper.
  • Pump your septic tank at a specified interval, generally once every three years.
  • Contact the Cecil County Health Department if you suspect a problem. For a list signs of malfunctioning septic system signs, CLICK HERE.
  • Do not allow building construction or vehicular traffic over your drain-field
  • Do not pour grease, paints, caustic or oily liquids, fuels cooking fats or motor oils into sinks or toilets.
  • Do not dispose of coffee grounds, sanitary napkins, tampons, condoms, cigarette butts, or disposable diapers in the toilet or sink

An improperly maintained septic system will add excess nutrients to water-bodies and impair our county's resources.

7.  Take Care of your lawn properly.

  • Reduce the amount of herbicides and pesticides used on your lawn by only spot treating.
  • Mulch or compost grass clippings by leaving them on the lawn and sweeping them off the street.
  • Apply only the recommended amount of fertilizer on unfrozen ground.
  • Water the lawn in the morning to avoid evaporation.
  • Sweep sidewalks with a broom instead of using a hose.
  • Use a rain gauge to measure rainfall so that the correct amount of water can be added as lawns only need 2-5 cm of water/week.
  • Keep grass 6 cm long as taller grass holds water better.
  • Do not water on windy days.

Proper lawn maintenance will prevent erosion, reduce water consumption, fertilizer, herbicide and pesticide use.

8. Maintain privately owned Stormwater Management Facilities.

  • Structures within each facility should be repaired when you receive an inspection report from the county.
  • Vegetation should be manicured correctly. Call 410-996-5265, or visit FAQs for more information.
  • Visit An Overview of Stormwater Facility Maintenance

Most stormwater facilities within Cecil County are owned by Homeowners Associations. The owner of each facility is mandated to maintain their stormwater management facility.

9. Report abuses of natural resources.

  • Watch for signs of polluters, such as a pipe or drainage inlet that is stained or emitting strong odors. Contact the Department of Public Works at 410-996-5265 for an investigation.

As stewards of Cecil County, we must be our "brother's keeper."

10. Volunteer in local environmental organizations.

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