Non-point Source Pollution

Posted on Jul 3, 2014 in Green Tip

If you’ve ever seen a riverbank covered in plastic bags and pop bottles, chances are, someone didn’t just throw them there. They probably washed in from neighborhood streets located miles away. The storm drains we see on our streets and parking lots are designed to collect rainwater and carry it to nearby waterways. Unfortunately, any litter that is washed into these systems can be discharged directly into our creeks, lakes and rivers.

Although trash is something that we can easily see, there are a multitude of unseen pollutants, like fertilizers, pesticides, and automotive and household wastes that are also washed down these storm drains and into our waterways. This is called non-point source pollution.

As you begin doing improvements to your house, lawn and cars this spring, please remember to properly dispose of automotive and household wastes and to apply lawn and garden treatments sparingly, during dry weather. Most of all, please pick up after your pets and yourselves!

Remember, keeping our streets clean helps clean up our streams, too!

We also invite you to join thousands of volunteers on June 21st for the 25th annual Ohio River Sweep, sponsored by the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission and the Foundation for Ohio River Education. Each year, this event draws thousands of volunteers to clean up the banks of the Ohio River, helping to beautify our region’s most vital resource. And volunteers receive a free t-shirt! For more information on River Sweep, please visit, or call the River Sweep hotline at 1-800-359-3977.