1. 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. For more information about the ways you can report water pollution see
Report A Problem.
CLT+ is a new way to interact with CharMeck 311, which serves as the customer contact center providing information and services for customers in the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. CLT+ is available on both the
Apple App and
Google Play stores. It is free to download.
2. 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. Please dispose of yard waste properly. You can compost it and use it in your yard, drop it off at a recycling center, or follow the guidance of your local municipality for curb pick up. Please choose the link below that corresponds to your location.
3. 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.
4. Scoop The Poop
There are over 55,000 registered dogs in Mecklenburg County that produce over 15 million pounds of waste each year. Big or small, it doesn't matter, any waste left on the ground can be a source of bacteria for our streams and lakes.
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. Practice "Green" Yard Care
Extra fertilizers and chemicals in the yard equals wasted money and polluted streams and lakes.
Soil test every couple years! Find out how much fertilizer your yard really needs. See
Soil Test Kits for locations in Mecklenburg County to pick up a free kit.
Leave grass clippings on the lawn for a natural fertilizer.
Sweep up fertilizer that spills on to the driveway or sidewalks.
More information about maintaining a healthy yard and minimizing chemical applications:
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. 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.
9. 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.
10. 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 with
Mecklenburg 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.
11. Hire Qualified Contractors that Follow the Rules
Contractors and businesses can also be a source of stormwater pollution, especially when some of their operations are located outside. Poor landscape maintenance practices, runoff from washing of vehicles, and the discharge of wastewater from improperly maintained private sewer systems and grease traps can all lead to stormwater pollution entering our streams and lakes. Make sure your contractor follows the best management practices to reduce stormwater pollution. Best management practice information is below.