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How to Reduce Stormwater Runoff

EQR performs stream restoration to reduce stormwater runoff caused by excessive rainfall on impervious surfaces in urban and suburban areas. Stormwater carries pollutants that damage our watersheds and contaminates our streams. Here are a couple things you can do to help reduce storm water runoff and decrease the amount of pollutants that are seeping into your local waterways:

1) Soak Up Your Water

To help decrease stormwater runoff, it is crucial to implement effective and sustainable stormwater management techniques in order to prevent pollution from excess nutrients, pollutants, sediment, and sewer overflows as they enter our watersheds and in turn, the Chesapeake Bay. With that in mind, there are resources available to help you filter stormwater runoff on your property to give it time to properly infiltrate the water into the ground and lessen water pollution. 


  • You can plant a rain garden at your downspouts to catch and permeate excess storm water as it flows across your yard.

  • Connect your downspouts to rain barrels. Make sure the barrel’s overflow goes to a pervious surface like a rain garden or yard instead of your impervious (concrete) driveway. If you do not have a rain barrel, then make sure to drain your downspouts onto grass or gravel.

  • When it’s time to replace the concrete on your driveway, use some type of porous pavement such as gravel or pervious concrete. These materials allow storm water to soak through and infiltrate into the ground. If you can’t afford an entire driveway of pervious pavement, consider using it at the end of the driveway, where the driveway meets the street.

2) Read Lawn and Garden Fertilizer Directions Carefully and Apply Wisely

Lawn fertilizer is composed of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Although garden plants need varying levels of each chemical to grow properly, when these chemicals are over applied, in storm events the fertilizer will wash from lawns, sidewalks, and streets into storm drains. Chemicals like nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium are good for growing plants, but they can have many negative environmental effects. Therefore, it's important to carefully read the label of any fertilizer you buy and apply it correctly to avoid over application.

3) Pick Up After Your Pets

This one seems like a no brainier, but you would be surprised how any people don’t pick up after their pets! Pet waste contains parasites that if left unattended can lead to contamination in your water. Pet stores and large retail stores carry small plastic bags for picking up pet waste. Biodegradable bags are even available for purchase.

4) Reduce/ Prevent Erosion Using Groundcovers

Planting groundcovers that are native to Maryland such as Creeping phlox, Junipers, Moss Phlox, Partridgeberry and others in place of a traditional lawn can help mitigate erosion and sediment runoff. The chemicals that are used on lawns wash away after every rain event and will flow into your local streams, storm drains and eventually into the Chesapeake Bay.

By changing some habits and implementing some of these simple techniques into everyday life and lawn care, you can create cleaner water in your community. There are local stream clean-ups that you can participate in that help clean up trash that contaminates our watersheds. 


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