My Impact


​My Impact At Work


Our places of work can contribute to water pollution. Cleaning, cooking, building/construction, and other businesses can impact our lakes and streams if we aren’t careful. There are small changes that you can make at work to help:


Oil, grease and trash are often generated in large amounts as part of the operation of a restaurant. Restaurant owners and employees should always dispose of oil and grease properly and check for leaks or stains on parking lot or indoor floors. Clean up spills using dry absorbent materials, never use a hose or power washer, and connect all interior drains to the sanitary sewer.

Auto Shops

Auto shops deal with a great number of chemicals that can be harmful to our waterways if they are not properly stored. Keep all chemicals and used fluids under cover and clean up spills with absorbent immediately. Absorbent must then be swept up and placed in the trash.

Construction Sites

Sediment washing into local waterways is one of the biggest water quality problems in Kentucky. Sediment adversely effects aquatic life and impacts wildlife habitat. If you work in or manage construction, you can help make a difference by taking measures to keep sediment on the construction site and out of our waterways. Always preserve as much vegetation as possible. Manage sediment from leaving the site by installing and maintaining silt fences, check dams, or other best management practices.


As a business owner or employee, simple things that you do in maintaining your office building can impact water quality. For example, do not over water landscaping. Turn off your sprinkler if rain is forecasted or if water from sprinklers is running off the plants and into the parking lot or lawn. Start a recycling program at your office. Use non-toxic cleaning products where possible.

My Impact in the Car


Just using and maintaining our cars can contribute to water pollution. Tires, fluids, filters, and soap can make their way downstream to our lakes and streams if we aren’t careful in how we use and dispose of these products. There are small changes that you can make to help:
Car Maintenance and Leaking Fluids
Repair leaks as soon as you notice them. Leaking fluids that drip onto driveways or roads wash into our rivers, lakes and streams when it rains. You can help prevent this from happening by maintaining your vehicle. Many auto shops or supply stores will recycle your used oil and other fluids.
Riding in Cars
When you litter from your car, it is not only an eyesore. Litter pollutes are waterways when it is carried by stormwater into roadside ditches and then to streams and lakes. Even small litter, like cigarette butts, impact waterways due to the chemicals and tar that they contain. You can help be a solution to water pollution from our highways by choosing not to litter.
Car Washing
Instead of washing your car in your driveway, consider taking your car to a commercial car wash. Or, try washing your car over your lawn. This way, soap suds will be filtered by the lawn, rather than running off your driveway and into the storm drain or ditch.
Used Battery and Tire Disposal
Dispose of used batteries or tires at drop off centers or landfills.


Outdoor Activities


Fun activities outdoors can contribute to water pollution. At the same time, outdoor activities may be the first place that we may notice water pollution. The next time that you see water that is polluted, think about how you can make a difference. There are small changes that you can make to help:
In motor boats, check that the boat is maintained and free of leaks. Like car engines, boats can leak fluids, and these leaks will enter the water. Keep items that you bring with you in your boat, don’t dispose of trash into the lake or river.
Swimming Pools
Your backyard or neighborhood swimming pool is drained every year before the winter. Think about all the chemicals, including chlorine that the water contains, and do not drain swimming pool water into the storm drain or ditch.
Whether you are camping, boating, swimming, sunbathing or hiking, take care to pick up your belongings and don’t litter. Litter on the ground is washed into our waterways when it rains!
For a more detailed list of how your actions may be impacting our water, and what you can do to make a difference, see our full listing of Impacts Outdoors.

My Impact At Home


Activities in our homes can contribute to water pollution. Cleaning products, paint, medicine, and trash can make their way downstream to our lakes and streams if we aren’t careful in how we use and dispose of these products. There are small changes that you can make to help:

Cleaning Products

Never dispose of cleaning products in the sink drain or storm drain! For disposal, look for household hazardous waste drop-off locations in your area. Try non-toxic, non-hazardous cleaning products or alternative cleaning supplies that you can make from simple household items like baking soda, vinegar and lemon juice. Many alternative cleaning product recipes use supplies already in your kitchen closet.


Never clean paint brushes in an area where paint can flow into the street, storm drain or stream. For unused paint, try donating it to a home reuse center. Dry any empty paint cans before disposal in the trash.

Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products

In recent years, the Environmental Protection Agency has found pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) such as medicines, shampoos, cosmetics, sunscreen and vitamins in treated wastewater, streams and lakes. At this time, further studies and solutions to address this issue are in the early phases. To dispose of unused PPCPs, follow the product label. Alternatively, deposit at a household hazardous waste collection or place in a dry plastic bag and into the garbage.

 Garbage Disposal and Recycling

Recycling conserves landfill space, natural resources and energy. Take the time to understand what products your local recycling center or pick-up program will take. Your participation in recycling today will help support an event greater market for recycled products tomorrow.

Home Remodeling

If possible, reuse or donate home items that you are removing. Keep all construction debris away from gutters and storm drains.  


My Impact in the Yard


The chemicals, garbage, and debris from our yards and gardens can impact water quality. These pollutants can impact aquatic life, raise water temperature, and can disrupt the natural balance of aquatic ecosystems. But if we put only stormwater in the drain, and follow these simple steps, we can all do our part to improve water quality.
A. Cutting the grass:
Do not blow leaves into stormwater infrastructure, including streams, catch basins, swales, and ditches.
B. Leaf management:
  • Do not place leaves in catch basins and drainage ways.
  • Participate in community leaf pick-up events.
C. Fertilizers/Pesticides use and disposal
  • Do not fertilize your lawn prior to heavy rains.
  • Contact your local cooperative extension office to have your soil tested to determine the appropriate fertilizer for your soil and the type of grass in your yard.
  • Follow instructions on the labels for fertilizers and pesticides.
  • For pesticides, try alternative methods.
D. Car washing:
Instead of washing the car in your driveway, consider washing your car at a commercial car wash. Commercial car washes do not drain to the storm sewers untreated.
E. Gardening:
  • Limit the use of chemicals and fertilizers.
  • Follow the instructions on the labels for the application and disposal of fertilizers and pesticides.
F. Pet waste management: Pet waste contributes to water pollution. In order to prevent pet waste from entering waterways:
  1. Scoop the poop,
  2. Bag it, and
  3. Place it in the trash.
G. Clear storm drains:
In order to reduce flooding and improve water quality, it is important to keep storm drains clear. Debris, either from litter or yard waste, can clog storm drains which can lead to flooding. H. Power washing: Wash water from power washing can contain oil, grease, chemicals, dirt, detergents and other pollutants that can pollute our streams, rivers, lakes. Best Management Practices (BMPs) to consider are:
  • Dry Clean-up methods
    • Mops, brooms, rags, wire brushes etc. to clean surfaces.
    • Vacuum to remove loose debris before applying water.
  • If you are going to use a power washer, block storm drains with an impervious barrier that does not cause flooding or impact safety.
  • Never dispose of wash water into the street or stormwater drainage including drains, ditches, and streams.
  • Wash vehicles and equipment at commercial car washes or over grassy or gravel areas that the wash water can seep into the ground.
  • Use nozzles that minimize the amount of water that is used during power washing.
  • Try non-phosphate detergents.
  • Do not wash equipment or vehicles when is it likely to rain.
H. Rain gardens:
 A rain garden is a shallow depression that is planted with native vegetation. A rain garden is designed to capture run off from roofs, driveways, parking lots etc. with the goal of reducing runoff from the property and pollutants entering our storm systems. Rain gardens can absorb hundreds of gallons of rain therefore reducing the amount of stormwater leaving a property. J. Rain barrels: Why use a rain barrel? The average rainfall of one inch within a 24 hour period can produce more than 700 gallons of water that runs off of the roof of an average house. A rain barrel collects water and stores it for those times that you need it the most, during the dry months. Not only do you save money on your water bill, but you also improving the quality of life in our neighborhoods. Generally, a rain barrel is made from a 55-gallon drum with a hose and screens to prevent debris from entering the barrel. A rain barrel will reduce the amount of stormwater run off from a property and therefore can reduce the amount of pollutants carried to our waterways. Examples of rain barrels can be found at the following two websites: Louisville MSD Rain Barrel program and Lily Raintainers.
I. Watering our yards:
  • Do not over water our yards.
  • Use rain barrels to collect water and use the water during dry weather.
J. Septic System Maintenance:
Septic systems that are not maintained can contribute to water pollution. Therefore, following these easy steps can benefit you and your neighbors:
  • Pump and inspect your septic tank often. Pumping frequency will depend on the size of the tank and the number of people using the system. For example, a 1000-gallon tank, serving a family of four, will typically require pumping every two to three (2-3) years.
  • Conserve water and fix all plumbing leaks that can overload the septic system.
  • Limit the use of your garbage disposal. Consider composting as an alternative.
  • Limit the use of household chemicals that can have harmful effects on the bacteria that enables the septic system to properly process human waste.
  • Do not plant deep-rooted trees on or around the location of the septic tank.
  • Do not pour kitchen grease down your drain.
  • Do not flush cigarette butts, sanitary napkins, or household trash down the toilet.
  • Do not drive heavy machinery over the leach field.
  • Do not connect roof drains to the septic system or allow surface water to drain into the leach field.
  • Do not drain your septic tank to any nearby swale or ditch.
K. Littering
Litter and debris can clog stormwater infrastructure resulting in flooding. Litter can also degrade water quality. Therefore, dispose of trash, cigarettes, and other litter in garbage cans. When appropriate recycle trash.
L. Yard Care Near Streams
For areas near streams limit the use of pesticides and leave a riparian area. Do not blow clippings and debris in the waterway as this can harm aquatic life and cause blockages in the stream increasing the likelihood of flooding. Riparian areas can also reduce erosion.
M. Pervious pavement
  • Pervious pavements are a recognized runoff-reducing substitute for normal pavements in development or redevelopment of:
    • Driveways;
    • Parking lots;
    • Sidewalks;
    • Patios, etc.
  • The use of pervious pavement has been found to:
    • Reduce stormwater runoff;
    • Reduce flooding;
    • Require less land to be set aside and less cost for the development of detention/retention basins;
    • Reduce pollutants in runoff; and
    • Reduce thermal pollution.
  • Always check your community’s building codes to see that pervious pavement is allowable. Building codes are often modified to encourage developing environmentally friendly technologies.
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