How can residents improve water quality?

Maintain Your Septic System

The Clark County Combined Health District can assist homeowners with failing systems and has guidance for do-it-yourself maintenance. Contact the District at 937-390-5600.

Install a Rain Barrel

Rain Barrel

A rain barrel is a container (usually a plastic 50-60 gallon barrel) that connects to your downspout and collects runoff from your roof. Rain barrel benefits include a free source of water to irrigate your flower beds and lawn and reduced stormwater runoff. Just like rain gardens, there are plenty of on-line resources to help you build and install your own rain barrel.

Install a Rain Garden


A rain garden is an attractive and easy to maintain garden that soaks up stormwater, thereby keeping it out of the stormwater system! The secret to rain gardens are native plants, which are accustomed to local growing conditions and don’t need fertilizer, pesticides, or extra watering and have deep root structures that help the garden soak up stormwater like a sponge. There are lots of online resources to help you plan and install your own rain garden.

Change Down Spout Connections

When down spouts and sump pumps are connected to the city sanitary sewer system, their flow is taking up space needed to carry sewage to our treatment plant. These connections can cause sewage to back up into your basement or overflow into our rivers and streams.

If your down spouts disappear into the ground, they are most likely connected to the sanitary sewer system. The water from your down spouts should discharge into your yard, a storm sewer, or other appropriate drainage structure.

Change Sump Pump Connections

If your sump pump is connected to any other pipe in your home, it is most likely connected incorrectly to the city sewer system. The pipe from your basement sump pump should always discharge directly into your yard or storm sewer.

Water should be directed into your yard away from your home so that it doesn’t puddle along the wall and seep back into your basement. Be sure the pump discharges are not directed onto neighboring properties.

Sump pump disconnections are often more complex and the cost associated with the disconnections will vary. You must be familiar with plumbing or electrical work to disconnect a sump pump. Your plumber or home improvement professional can give you an estimate to do the work.

Reduce Household Hazardous Waste

Consider all the cleaners, batteries, old electronics, lawn and garden products, and oils, greases, and other car care products you may have at home. You should be aware of how to properly dispose of these items and NEVER dump anything on the ground or down a storm drain. The Clark County Solid Waste District routinely has drop off days for household hazardous waste, and they have a great list on their website about recycling and disposing other common items found around the home.

Other Things to Consider

Wash Car

When you wash your car in the driveway, remember you’re also washing dirt, grease, salt, and automotive fluids into the nearest storm drain and directly into our streams. Park your car on your lawn so the water can soak into the ground and the pollutants get filtered by the plants and soils.


When your pet “goes” on the lawn, remember it doesn’t stay on the lawn. Pick up pet waste so it doesn’t runoff and contribute bacteria to our streams.

When you’re fertilizing your lawn, remember you’re not just fertilizing your lawn. Lawn fertilizer should only be applied at the rate recommended on the bag. Adding more than recommended will not benefit your lawn and only cause more runoff. Also, be sure to use 0 phosphorus fertilizer. Our soils don’t require more phosphorus and the extra just pollutes our streams.


When your car leaks oil on the street, remember it’s not just leaking oil on the street. Every time it rains, oil buildup on driveways, streets, and parking lots get washed into our streams. Do your part to limit this pollution by keeping your vehicle well maintained.

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