Homeowners should be aware of measures to help reduce the quantity and protect the quality of stormwater leaving their property. Even a small amount of impervious area (i.e., rooftops, driveways, sidewalks, etc.) can have an impact, adding pollutants like oil, gasoline, or debris to the stormwater runoff. The runoff eventually makes its way into storm sewers, where flows directly into streams and rivers without being treated by a wastewater treatment plant.
Because the stormwater is unable to infiltrate into the natural ground, the runoff entering nearby surface waters arrives at a faster rate, increasing the burden on municipal and county storm systems. Illicit discharges and illegal connections to municipal storm drains or county regulated drains can also have a negative impact on water quality. Per federal laws, local government entities are required to discover illicit discharges and take appropriate actions to have them resolved. If you are aware of illegal connection or illicit discharges into storm sewers or drains in your area, please notify us so the problem can be rectified.
Backyard Swales and Ditches
Deferred maintenance or non-permitted home improvement projects within backyard swales are the cause of flooding and drainage issues in many urban and rural subdivisions. Common offenders are sheds, fences, or retaining walls that are built on top of backyard swales, impeding runoff from flowing through channels intended for drainage. Stacks of bricks or other blockages intentionally placed within the swale— along with outright filling in the swale—are also common culprits when complaints arise for standing water on residential lawns.
Proper Leaf Disposal
*Please note: Loose grass clippings can not be placed in the street for collection by city/county collections. Grass clippings must be placed into yard waste bags or recycled on your lawn YEAR ROUND.
Lafayette: From October-April, homeowners may place leaves in a pile by the curb to be collected. Leaves will be picked up on your regular trash day or the following day. Please keep leaf piles free of sticks and trash. Do not place leave in ditches, under vehicles or park vehicles too close to leaves. Do not place leaves in plastic bags. Find more information on Lafayette leaf collection and other yard waste guidelines and pickup schedule click here.
West Lafayette Residents: Rake leaves into a pile 12 inches away from the curb in a windrow. Please keep catch basins free of leaves. Have leaves raked out by Monday of your scheduled collection week. Please keep leaf piles free of sticks and trash. For a complete list of regulations and schedule click here.
Battle Ground: Place leaves in a pile near the curb. Leaves will be picked up on an as needed basis. Please keep leaf piles free of sticks and trash. Leaves and other lawn debris can be taken to the town compost center. Follow the link for more details.
Dayton: Place leaves in paper bag and set out with trash. Leaves with be picked up with the trash on the regularly scheduled trash day.
Tippecanoe County: Leaves and yard debris can be brought into the Tippecanoe County Solid Waste Management District located at 2770 N 9th Street Lafayette for compost. Compost fees are $19.50 a truck load and $2.00 a bag.
Blue is the New Green
In 2015, the TCPWQ and its partners developed “Blue is the New Green” campaign. This 10 minute video reviews the “Do's and Do Not’s” of basic stormwater pollution prevention practices that should be implemented by everyone in their home and in their yard.
Below are some ideas on how you, as a homeowner, can take steps in improving water quality.
Maintain your septic system - If you are planning on repairing a septic system, please seek help from the Tippecanoe County Board of Health. Resources, training, and information are available through the county Board of Health.
Household hazardous waste diposal - Don't dump your paint in the sewer! Tippecanoe County has facilities where household waste can be properly disposed. Contact information for these facilities can be found on tippecanoewaste.org, as well as an A-Z guide of house hold waste and instruction of proper disposal.
Install a rain garden - Rain gardens can be a rather inexpensive solution to reducing the quantity of runoff and pollution leaving a property. Visit tippeconow.com to see how and where rain gardens are being used throughout Tippecanoe County. The website also has links to local resources to help with your rain garden project.
Install a rain barrel - Rain barrels provide the homeowner a method of harvesting rain water for use during dry months. Visit tippeconow.com and explore the benefits of rain water harvesting as well as information of how to obtain and install a rain barrel. The Tippecanoe County Soil and Water Conservation District can also assist in providing materials for rain barrel construction.
Pick up after your pet - A quick and simple method of decreasing pollutants in runoff is to clean up after your pet. The Alamo Area Partners for Animal Welfare summarizes health risks and pollution issues than can result from pet waste that is left unattended.
Washing your vehicle - The soapy runoff from washing your vehicle in your driveway can pollute the stormwater system. Contents of the storm sewer system are not treated and flow directly to local streams and the Wabash River. One simple way to minimize pollution from do-it-yourself car washing is to wash your vehicle on your lawn and us a phosphorous-free soap. Washing your car on your lawn will allow the water to soak into the ground and filter out pollutants. Using phosphorous-free soap helps decrease the amount of nutrients entering our waterways.
The most eco-friendly option, of course, is to take your vehicle to a car wash! Excess soap and water from car washes are directed to a wastewater treatment plant, decreasing risks to natural surface waters.
Composting - Composting is a wonderful way to reduce the amount of waste sent to the local landfill. These two websites have step by step instructions on creating a compost pile as well as facts and trouble shooting ideas for common compost issues.
Fertilizing your lawn - Remember that when you fertilize your lawn, you are allowing some of the chemicals to flow in to the stormwater system. Avoid fertilizers containing phosphorus, and always clean any fertilizer spilled on driveways and sidewalks by sweeping it up and using it later.
Fix leaky vehicles - Promptly fix and vehicle leaks. Automobile fluids are easily washed into storm sewers and end up in our streams and rivers. One pint of motor oil can cause a slick the size of a football field, contaminating hundreds of thousands of gallons of water.