Surface Water Quality

​Residents - Top Ten Tips​​

​​​​1. PREVENT MUDDY STREAMS 
Sediment or mud is one of the top pollutants for Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s waterways. It’s harder for fish and aquatic organisms to breathe and reproduce in waterways filled with sediment. 
  • If a construction site is causing muddy streets, storm drains or streams, call 3-1-1 or use the Water Watchers App.  See more information about reporting pollution at Report A Problem​.​
  • Plant native grasses, shrubs, and trees along the banks of streams and lakes. 

2. SCOOP THE POOP
Mecklenburg County dogs produce over 52,000 pounds of dog waste every day. If even a fraction is left on the ground, it’s still a large source of bacteria for stormwater, streams and lakes.
  • Scoop the Poop in a bag and throw it away, even in your own yard. 

3. PRACTICE “GREEN” YARD CARE 
Extra fertilizers and chemicals in the yard equals wasted money and polluted streams and lakes.   
4. USE A CAR WASH, NOT THE DRIVEWAY 
Oils, metals and soap washed off cars are harmful to streams. 
  • If you wash cars or anything else outside, wash it on the grass where water will soak into the ground. Better yet, use a car wash where water goes to a treatment plant. 

5. VOLUNTEER 
We can all make a difference, especially when we work together. Help teach kids the value of volunteering, the beauty of our local waterways, and how we can each protect them. 

6. REPORT POLLUTION 
Responding quickly to water pollution is critical for preventing damage. 
  • When you smell or see something unusual in storm drains, streams or lakes, report it! ​
  • Call 3-1-1 or use the Water Watc​hers App.  For more information about the ways you can report water pollution see Report A Problem.

7.  DISPOSE OF WASH WATER PROPERLY 
Dirty water from washing or rinsing items around your house and yard is a common source of stormwater pollution.
  • Dispose of dirty water in a sink where the water will go to a sewage treatment plant. 
  • If rinsing or washing your tools or equipment inside isn’t possible, do it on your lawn where the water will soak in and not enter a storm drain.

8. KEEP YARD WASTE OUT OF STORM DRAINS
Yard waste in the street or on a stream bank can wash and clog storm drains and streams. This can cause local flooding and harm fish and aquatic organisms. 
  • Compost yard waste and reuse it in the yard, drop it off at a recycle center, or place it at the curb for pick up. See Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s Solid Waste’s Yard Waste Disposal Information 

9. REDUCE THE VOLUME OF STORMWATER 
Less stormwater equals less stream bank erosion and sediment pollution. Rain barrels and rain gardens reduce the volume of stormwater reaching streams during a storm.  
  • Buy a Rain Barrel. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services partners withMecklenburg Soil & Water Conservation District​to sell rain barrels, which range in price from $95 to $110. 
  • Build a Rain Garden. See the Rain Garden Network for step-by-step directions, photos, and plant lists. Yards with heavy clay soils should install an under-drain. ​

10. TAKE UNWANTED HAZARDOUS CHEMICALS TO A RECYCLE CENTER 
Just one gallon of Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) can pollute millions of gallons of water.  Don’t dump it down a storm drain or down the sink or toilet. 
  • HHWs are chemicals used in homes that are toxic, flammable, corrosive and/or explosive. 
  • Examples: used motor oil, turpentine, nail polish, drain cleaner, bug and weed spray, oil based paint, moth balls, carpet cleaners, and oven cleaners.
  • For more examples and drop off locations see Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s Solid Waste’s Household Hazardous Waste Information  
  • Many commercial auto part stores and auto repair shops accept used oil from residents.