What Can I Do?
Top 10 Things You Can Do To Help Clean Up Area Waterways
1. Be a Watershed Watchdog
If you see a potential stormwater problem, such as clogged storm drains, trash in the gutter, pollutants washing into or discharging from storm sewers, or uncontrolled erosion from construction sites, contact your local municipal or county public works department.
Information About Pet Waste:
Pet Waste and Water Quality
2. Be a Pooper Scooper-Pick Up After Your Pets
You can flush pet waste down the toilet, bury it 4-6 inches deep in the yard or dispose in a specially designed composter. Do not put it in your vegetable garden or compost that will be used for your garden.
3. Don't Overfeed Your Lawn
Test your soil before buying and applying fertilizer to your lawn. Most lawns do not need phosphorus, so don't pay for something you don't need. If soil tests show that your lawn does need fertilizer, apply according to manufacturer's instructions. Don't "double the dose".
Information About Fertilizers:
Yard Care and the Environment - Lawn and Garden Fertilizers
4. Keep Leaves and Grass Clippings Out of the Street, Gutters, Drainage Ditches and Storm Drains
Use leaves and/or grass clippings as mulch, or add it to a compost pile. Clippings and leaves can also be tilled directly into garden or flowerbeds. If you live in a city or village, check your community's website to find out when the next leaf, brush and grass clipping pick-up is.
City of West Bend:
Leaves and Grass Clippings
City of Hartford:
Village of Germantown:
Garbage & Recycling Collection
Information About Composting Bins:
Home Composting Overview (DNR)
5. Conserve Water - Keep Your Rain
Maximize infiltration in your yard by directing rainwater away from paved areas. Plant a rain garden filled with deep-rooted grasses and wildflowers to maximize water absorption into the ground. If you don't have a rain garden, aim downspouts to grassy areas or into a rain barrel.
Rain Garden Brochure:
How-To Manual For Homeowners
6. Kick Your Chemical Dependency
Use non-toxic alternatives to conventional household chemicals whenever possible. When not possible, properly dispose of hazardous household chemicals such as oil-based paints, cleaning chemicals, pesticides, solvents, batteries and disinfectants. Never dispose of hazardous chemicals or wash paint brushes in the storm drain. Learn more about how to properly dispose of hazardous chemicals through the County's Clean Sweep Program.
Information About Pesticides:
Yard Care and the Environment - Lawn and Garden Pesiticides
7. Practice Careful Car Care
Regularly maintain your car and fix any oil, radiator or transmission leak as soon as you see them. If you change your own oil, make sure to take the used oil to a recycling collection site. Never pour it behind the garage, on the driveway to kill weeds or down the storm drain. Also, consider using a commercial car wash, or wash your car on your lawn to prevent car-washing detergents from washing down the storm drain.
Information About Car Care:
Car Care for Cleaner Water
8. Use A Proper Container For Trash and Recyclables
Don't put trash into the street or gutter where it can be washed into the storm sewer system and then to local waterways.
9. Make Friends With Your Watershed
Join a local watershed or conservation group and help clean up waterways in your area. Check out the following websites to learn more about local organizations working to clean up local waterways.
Keep Greater Milwaukee Beautiful
Milwaukee River Basin Partnership
Ozaukee Washington Land Trust
Rock River Coalition, Inc.
Riveredge Nature Center
Trout Unlimited, Southeast WI Chapter
10. Keep Soil In Your Yard and Out Of Our Waterways
Bare soil easily washes into the storm drains. Cover exposed soil with seed and mulch as soon as possible. Cover piles of soil for your yard or garden with a tarp until you're ready to use it. If you're building a home, choose a builder who takes extra care not to track mud onto the streets, and who installs and maintains practices that prevent soil from washing off your lot during construction.
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West Bend, WI 53095
P: 262 335-4800