BMPs for Urban Environments

Urban BMPs can be implemented to help reduce pollution in our local water bodies.

Use Fertilizers Wisely

  • Apply at the right time and in the right amounts. If more fertilizer is applied than the grass can utilize, it can wash into nearby streams and lakes.
  • Get a soil test to see what your soil needs.
  • Fertilizer with slow release nitrogen is better for the environment.

Apply Pesticides Wisely

  • Identify the pest, disease, or cause of the problem.
  • Learn when and where pesticides are needed.
  • Select chemicals that are the least toxic or that break down quickly.
  • Always read the label before mixing and applying pesticides.

Use Landscaping Practices that Prevent Erosion

  • Protect soil by planting groundcover vegetation or by using mulch. Soil washed away by rain can pollute streams and lakes.
  • Gardens and construction sites with areas of bare soil, especially on sloped land are prone to erosion.
  • Use the mulch setting on your mower and start grass-cycling. Just leave the grass on the lawn.  It provides needed nutrients to the soil and grass.

Wash Your Vehicle Wisely

  • Use a commercial car wash. Waste water from these businesses does not enter the storm drains and is sent to a water treatment facility.
  • If washing your car at home, pull your vehicle onto the grass before you start washing.  This will help water the yard as well as keep the soapy water from running straight into the storm drain.

Dispose of Pet Waste

  • Pet waste washed into streams, rivers, or lakes, contributes to nutrient pollution. Pet waste can carry disease carrying organisms.
  • Dispose of pet waste properly by either collecting the waste and flushing it down the toilet, burying it in the yard about 5 inches deep, or putting it in the trash.

Use and Dispose of Household Chemicals Safely

  • Never pour chemicals such as paint or oil onto the yard or directly into storm drains, or the next rain will take the chemicals directly to your local stream.
  • See if there is a household chemical collection center near you and drop off chemicals there if possible. These centers provide safe, environmentally friendly disposal and are usually free.
  • Look for alternative cleaning products that are less hazardous to the environment.

Rainwater Harvesting and Rain Gardens

Rainwater harvesting is the collection and storage of rainfall from roofs or other impermeable surfaces for future use in the landscape or for interior water uses, including potable water uses. The many benefits of rainwater harvesting include:

  • Rainwater provides a water source when groundwater supplies are limited.
  • Rainwater harvesting reduces flow to storm water drains and also reduces nonpoint source pollution.
  • The water itself is free; the only cost is for collection and use.
  • The end use of harvested water is close to the source, localizing the distribution system.
  • Rainwater is superior for landscape irrigation – plants love it!
  • The zero hardness of rainwater prevents scale on appliances and eliminates the need for a water softener.

Rain gardens capture rainwater runoff from hard surfaces, like roofs, driveways, hardscapes and paved surfaces. Soil, plants and a bermed edge hold stormwater and allow it to percolate into the soil, rather than running off and carrying your topsoil and pollutants with it. Learn more about capturing rainwater from the TWDB Rain Catcher Awards.