With a little effort, each one of us can help keep our area waterways clean and ensure that they remain a useful resource for future generations. Below are just a few of the things you can do to help reduce stormwater pollution in Beaumont. In addition, you will also find links to further information on stormwater pollution.
Reduce / Reuse / Recycle
Reduce/Reuse/Recycle just about sums it up. If we reduce the amount of waste we generate, reuse what we can, and recycle what we know someone else can use, we can greatly reduce the impact of stormwater pollution. A few simple things we can all do to address the problem are:
- Carpool, when possible, or take advantage of the City of Beaumont's transit system.
- Recycle used motor oil through the City of Beaumont's Used Motor Oil Collection program
- Dispose of Household Hazardous Wastes (paint, pesticides, and other household chemicals) at the next Southeast Texas Regional Planning Council Collection Event.
The City of Beaumont encourages its citizens to promptly notify the City of any observed pollutants in the drainage system. Reports can be made via the City of Beaumont's Stormwater Hotline at 409-880-3725 or 311.
When to make a report:
- When you notice unusual odors in the drainage system
- When you find dumped waste
- When a stormwater outfall is flowing during dry periods
- When you notice discolored vegetation or concrete
- When you see someone illegally dumping anything into the storm drain
Please note: If you are reporting an emergency situation that could result in imminent and substantial danger to the health and safety of persons, do not contact the Stormwater Hotline but, instead, call 911.
Use pesticides/herbicides wisely and sparingly.
Pesticides/herbicides can be a significant source of stormwater pollution if care is not taken during their use. By simply following a few guidelines, the impact of pesticides/herbicides can be minimized.
- Follow the manufacturer's directions carefully and never use more than needed for the job.
- Use the right herbicide/pesticide for the job at hand and minimize the impact on our area's waterways.
- Never use chemicals when rain is expected.
- Never pour chemicals down the storm drain, toilet, manhole, or household drain. Also, when watering, be mindful of the impact pesticides/herbicides can have on our waterways and avoid allowing them to run off the lawn and into the street.
- Pesticides-Herbicides Brochure (PDF)
Under the City's Watershed Protection Ordinance, any individual or business engaged in the selling of pesticide/herbicide/fertilizer products is required to post the following notice at their place of business:
Actual Ordinance Language
Display of Notice. Any person selling pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers at a retail or wholesale place of business shall post a sign pertaining to the regulation of pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers that may be required by State regulation. Such sign, when required by State regulation, shall also include or have appended to it a statement to the effect that information on the use of pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers can be obtained from the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (now TCEQ). Such notice and information shall be prominently displayed at the place of business where it may be read by purchasers of any pesticide, herbicide, or fertilizer.
When Washing Your Car
Most people don't know that washing your car could have an impact on our area streams. The fact is, car washing not only uses more water than a commercial car wash but it also introduces soap, oil, and engine grime to the environment. The dirty water and soap have to go somewhere so it flows down your driveway and into the street where it empties into a curb inlet and eventually flows to a nearby stream. These detergents then begin to wreak havoc on fish and other wildlife. The solution to this problem is to use a commercial car wash when possible. Wastewater generated at commercial car washes flows to the wastewater treatment facility where it is cleaned before being reintroduced to our area waterways. Still, if you must wash your vehicle at home, follow these tips to help minimize pollution:
- Use only minimal amounts of soap and try to avoid using too much water when rinsing since the runoff may flow into the street.
- If possible, wash cars on the lawn rather than the driveway. The lawn will absorb the soapy water and prevent it from flowing into the street.
Dry Cleanup Methods
Another great way to help reduce pollution is to practice dry cleanup methods. What are dry cleanup methods? Dry cleanup methods are simply methods of cleaning without using water, which could run into the street and make its way to a nearby stream. So, use a broom to sweep up waste on your driveway and/or sidewalk rather than using a water hose. To clean up oil spills, try using cat litter to absorb the oil and then sweep up the litter and place it in the trash can.
Remember, "Only Rain down the Drain".
Never pour paint, used oil, household chemicals, or any other substance down the storm drain. If possible, share leftover contents with friends or family and/or take advantage of the Household Hazardous Waste Event, etc. to dispose of these items properly. The illegal dumping of any foreign substance into the City's drainage system is a violation of the Watershed Protection Ordinance.
- Watershed Protection Ordinance (Prohibitions Notice) (PDF)
- Illegal Dumping Brochure (PDF)
- Household Waste Brochure (PDF)
- Paint Disposal Brochure (PDF)
- Oil Disposal Brochure (PDF)
Litter is a major contributor to stormwater pollution. Litter and other debris can block storm drains and lead to flooding. In addition, litter can impair water quality and have a significant impact on the aesthetic and recreational value of our area's waterways.
Litter is more than an eyesore. When it rains, litter washes into the storm drain system and ends up in area streams and water bodies. And, much of it remains there for a long time. For instance, did you know that cigarette butts can take up to 25 years to break down or, that plastic six-pack rings can take up to 450 years to break down? It's important that future generations have the same opportunity that we have had to enjoy our abundant waterways and wildlife.
As good stewards of the environment, we need to do our part to ensure that this opportunity remains. So in simple terms, don't litter. Place all trash in appropriate containers and, while enjoying the outdoors, remember to always leave an area just as it was when you arrived by bagging your trash and carrying it out with you. Also, when carrying trash and other debris in the backs of trucks, make sure the load is secured so litter will not be blown from the truck bed. Lastly, get involved in local cleanup efforts when the opportunity arises and/or lead a cleanup effort in your neighborhood. For more information on what you can do to "Keep Beaumont Beautiful", contact the Engineering Division at 409-880-3725.
Yard waste is yet another significant source of stormwater pollution. Leaves and grass clippings, not to mention sticks and other yard waste, do not belong in the storm drain. These items can do serious damage to water quality and to fish and other wildlife found in our area's waterways. A good alternative to improper disposal of yard waste is composting. Composting is not only a useful tool for home gardeners but also an excellent way to reuse yard waste rather than allowing it to become a problem. If composting is not for you then take advantage of the City of Beaumont's Yard Waste Collection program.
Regardless of the path you choose, remember "Only Rain down the Drain".
Did you ever stop to think about where spilled motor oil and other automotive fluids go? If you're like most people, probably not. Each time it rains, many of these contaminants flow into the storm sewer and make their way to area waterways where they can have a negative impact on our water quality as well as on fish and other wildlife.
Automotive fluids such as oil, grease, anti-freeze, and brake fluid, as well as asbestos from worn brake linings, zinc from tires, and other toxins, pose a serious threat to our environment. Fortunately, their effect can be greatly minimized by simply practicing responsible habits when performing routine automotive maintenance. So, the next time you're faced with performing routine auto-maintenance, try following the guidelines in the "Auto Maintenance Brochure" and help preserve our waterways.
For more information, please read the Auto Maintenance Brochure (PDF).
Additionally, you can read the Spanish version of the Auto Maintenance Brochure.