How You Can Help

You can help us improve our local waterways.

What we do on the land affects our waterways.

Rainwater flows over rooftops, lawns, parking lots and roadways as it travels to storm drains and ditches. This water accumulates pollutants along its journey—such as lawn chemicals, oil, litter and pet waste—which flow directly to our waterways.

Help improve our waterways:

In your home

  • Delay using washing machines and dishwashers during peak rain events—they can fill up the sanitary sewers and contribute to sewer overflows
  • Dispose of fats, oils, grease and food scraps in the trash to prevent clogs in your sewer line and backups into your home (see a list of companies that will haul away your FOG)
  • Put diapers, floss, feminine-hygiene products, paper towels, waste from garbage disposals in the trash, not down your drain
  • Never flush "flushable" wipes—wipes do not break down quickly, even if their labels read “flushable.” They can cause problems for plumbing systems and lead to sewer backups in your home and MSD facilities
  • Disconnect your sump pumps from the sewer system

In your yard

  • Decrease use of fertilizer and pesticides, especially when it may rain soon. Stormwater picks up these chemicals and carries it to our local waterways where fertilizer fosters algae and pesticides harm our local flora and fauna. 
  • Compost grass clippings. Grass clippings and leaves get carried off by rain water to catch basins and drainage ditches and then to streams. These materials can clog catch basins, drainage ditches and streams, contributing to local flooding.
  • Wash your car on the grass, and check your vehicle for fluid leaks. Your vehicle carries oil, grit, and dirt from the roadways where you drive. When you wash your car on a driveway or other paved surface, the wash water drains to a nearby catch basin or drainage ditch and can be carried to a nearby creek or stream. In the yard, water will soak into the grass, so less will run off to catch basin or drainage ditches.
  • Put pet waste in the trash. Pet waste that is left on the ground is carried to local waterways when it rains and can possibly contaminate our rivers and streams. Children and pets play in these very same places.
  • Disconnect your downspouts from the sewer system
  • Direct your downspouts away from paved surfaces so nature can filter pollutants from your rooftop before reaching a waterway
  • Plant a tree—they capture stormwater runoff and decrease the likelihood of sewer overflows
  • Plant a rain garden to capture stormwater runoff (see our Rain Garden Plant Guide for gardening ideas). 
  • Rain barrels store stormwater during a rain storm directly from your gutters. As a bonus, water stored in a rain barrel can be used during dryer periods to water plants and flowers. 
  • Dechlorinate your swimming pool water before draining it

Out and about

  • Take used oil to a recycling center. Used motor oil that is put into the trash or emptied into a storm drain contaminates our river and streams which could eventually harm our drinking water and water quality. Just one gallon of used oil can contaminate 1 million gallons of water.
  • Keep storm drains and ditches free of litter. Catch basins need to be free of litter and debris to effectively collect stormwater. 
  • Don't litter
  • Participate in environmental clean-ups, like Ohio River Sweep
  • If you see a leaking sewer pipe or a clogged storm drain/catch basin, please report it to Customer Relations