What You Can Do

There are many actions, behaviors or landscaping practices that reduce pollution and/or the amount of stormwater runoff flowing into waterways; the stormwater industry term for this is Best Management Practices, or BMPs.
BMPs can be structural, such as a rain barrel or shoreline buffer, or non-structural, such as picking up after your pet or washing your vehicle on the grass.



Structural BMPs


Many structural BMPs are simple and easy to install in your yard or on commercial business property. Some BMPs prevent water pollution by capturing runoff and allowing it to soak back into the ground, while other BMPs act as natural barriers and filters between polluted runoff and waterways. Many structural BMPs also reduce flooding, prevent soil erosion, conserve water, recharge groundwater and provide habitat for wildlife. Examples of structural BMPs include:


  • Rain Barrels
  • Pervious Materials
  • Native Plants
  • Swales
  • Shoreline Buffers
  • Habitat Gardens
  • Retention Ponds
  • Stream Bank Restoration
  • Backyard Wetlands
  • Rain Gardens
  • Shade Trees

Non-Structural BMPs


Believe it or not, 40 percent of US water bodies are polluted according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Most of this water pollution can be traced back to our activities on land. Fortunately, non-structural BMPs are very easy to do and make a big difference for water quality. Examples of non-structural BMPs include:

  • Never put anything into a storm drain, drainage ditch, or creek.
  • Always clean up after your pet.
  • Have your soil tested to determine the exact amount of fertilizer and nutrients your lawn needs.
  • Use pesticides as a last resort and don’t over apply.
  • Dispose of leaves, grass clippings, and other yard waste properly.
  • Always throw litter in the trash.
  • Reduce, reuse, and recycle items whenever possible.
  • Recycle motor oil, antifreeze, and other auto fluids at an auto parts store or the County Landfill.
  • Dispose of paints, pesticides and other household hazardous chemicals properly.
  • Wash your vehicle on the grass or take it to a commercial car wash.
  • Check your vehicle for leaks and repair them.

Adopt-a-Stream Program


The City of Asheville partners with RiverLink to provide the Adopt-a-Stream Program. This is a hands-on way for local residents and businesses to get actively involved in improving the water quality of the French Broad River Watershed. This very flexible program gives the tools and knowledge to make a difference in our watershed by cleaning up local streams. Participants are required to complete a minimum of two clean-ups per year and report any water-related issues or problems to RiverLink staff. The City of Asheville provides garbage pick-up and installation of signs along the streams to recognize the litter reduction efforts.


Call Before You Dig

The Stormwater Division participates alongside many other utility providers in the area as part of the NC 811 One Call service to locate and mark underground utility lines across the City. If you are planning an outdoor improvement project, simply call 811 and technicians will visit your jobsite to mark underground utility lines for free before you even break ground. Participation in this program helps prevent injury, property damage and service outages.


Emergency Sediment and Erosion Control Violations


Sediment is the loose sand, silt and other soil particles that settle at the bottom of a body of water.  Sediment can come from the decomposition of animals and plants or from soil erosion.  It can be as small as a grain of sand or as large as a boulder. Sediment moves from one place to another through the process of erosion. Erosion is the removal and transportation of rock or soil. Erosion can move sediment through water, ice, or wind.

Sediment fills up storm drains and catch basins, which are meant to carry water away from roads and homes, which increases the potential for flooding. Sediment entering stormwater degrades the quality of water for drinking, wildlife and the land surrounding streams. Sediment can clog fish gills, reducing resistance to disease, lowering growth rates, and affecting fish egg and larvae development. Sediment deposits in rivers can alter the flow of water and reduce water depth, which makes navigation and recreational use more difficult.

If you see emergency sediment, erosion or illicit discharge violations within the city limits during normal business hours 7:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. call 828-232-4567.  After normal business hours or on weekends and holidays please contact our on call duty officer 828-251-1122.

The on call duty officer will only respond to the following violation criteria:

  • Mud or sediment in a roadway, yard or basement directly related to a weather event
  • Mud or sediment in a roadway, yard or basement when the sources of the water are not known
  • Failure of an erosion control system that has been witnessed by a citizen or passerby
  • Illicit discharge violations into the city owned storm drains
  • Please take the criteria under consideration before you report any violation


Updated 12/12/2019


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