Ozarks Tonight: Only rain down the storm drain


SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Summer is in full swing which means mowing the lawn and going to the lake. We have had some showers this week and the city is reminding residents of this: only rain down the storm drain.

Laurie Duncan, education outreach specialist with Springfield’s Environmental Services, says keeping waterways clean starts at home, from lawn care to pet waste. 

“Pet waste included, grass clippings, all of that stuff on the surface is washing down the drains,” said Sarah Davis, stormwater specialist, with the Water Quality Division. 

Duncan says whatever goes down the storm drains ends up in streams, rivers and lakes and that the water does not get filtered before it gets dumped in there. 

They say following heavy rain, it’s also a good idea to avoid swimming in lakes and rivers for at least a couple of days because right after rainy days is when most of the pollution and chemicals make their way into waterways. 

Davis says grass clippings should not get swept into the street or be left in the yard because once they get washed into the storm drain and eventually into waterways, their nutrients help create algae. 

Duncan also says over fertilizing or even just fertilizing your yard right before rainy days is not a good idea – because it will all get washed off – and homeowners will not only waste money, but those chemicals and nutrients will also end in waterways. 

The Environmental Services Department offers free soil testing for homeowners to learn if their yards even need fertilizing. 

Pet waste is also a huge culprit. If it’s not picked up it also ends up being washed into storm drains and into lakes, rivers, and streams. 

“Once it is in the water, the breakdown of this poop adds excess nutrients to the water,” Duncan said. Which also promotes algae growth. 

“These nutrients (mainly phosphorus and nitrogen) and other bacteria in pet poop can make the water in your river unsafe for swimming and cause health hazards for humans, too.” 

She says the average dog generates .75 lbs of poo a day. That multiplied bythe number of dog-owning households in the City of Springfield totals about 15 tons of dog poop every day. 

Duncan also reminds pet owners that pet waste is not fertilizer. 

Find out more about the city’s yard ethic program. https://www.springfieldmo.gov/DocumentCenter/View/4875/Soil-Testing-for-Better-Lawns-and-Gardens-PDF?bidId=

You can report storm drain pollution by calling (859) 864-1010. 

Find out more about the Adopt-a-Stream program.

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