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 these 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% of U.S. 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.


Help Keep Our Waterways Clean

Help protect our natural resources and aid in preventing localized flooding by keeping storm drains and our streams clean and unobstructed.  Please read this brochure for tips on preventing stormwater pollution. Let’s work together to keep our waterways clean!


Stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs) for Restaurants and Food Service Facilities

BMPs are measures or activities that may help prevent stormwater pollution. Food service establishments and fermented beverage manufacturers use and produce various types of chemicals and wastes that, if allowed to enter the storm drainage system, can have a negative impact on local waterways. Please review this brochure with steps for food service establishments and beverage manufacturers to take to help protect water quality.

​Solutions to Water Pollution for Lawn Care Professionals

Leaves, grass clippings and tree trimmings that are swept or blown into the street and storm drains are pollutants and also create a hazard for motorists.  Please click here for Best Management Practices (BMPs) for landscaping practices that will help minimize water pollution.

Pollution Prevention Guide For Construction Industry

Construction sites can contribute pollutants such as sediment, metals, and chemicals, to our local creeks and rivers. These pollutants make their way down our streets and into storm drains, eventually discharging to the nearest body of water which can impact our drinking water, recreational activities, and aquatic life. Please click here for a brochure on Stormwater Control Measures for construction sites.


Pollution Prevention Guide For The Painting Industry

Products such as paints, solvents and adhesive used in the painting industry contain chemicals that are harmful to humans and aquatic life.  Improper disposal and handling of these products could result in contamination of our local waterways, impacting our drinking water, recreation and aquatic life.  It is important to understand how the painting industry can help keep our waterways clean. Please click here for a brochure on Best Management Practices (BMPs) for the painting industry

Call Before You Dig

The Stormwater Division participates with 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 job site 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, thus 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, weekdays from 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 at 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.