Stormwater Stewardship

illustration of stormwater flowing through drains, pipes, and ditches into streams, lakes, or other bodies of water

Healthy watersheds provide critical services, such as clean drinking water, productive fisheries, and outdoor recreation that support our economies, environment, and quality of life. The health of clean waters is heavily influenced by the condition of their surrounding watersheds, mainly because pollutants can wash off from the land to the water and cause substantial harm.

Our actions on the landscape directly impact the quality of the water in our waterways. The following are tips for having a positive impact on Boone County watersheds!

Stewardship Topics

Become A Stormwater Steward

Litter Prevention

illustration of pollutants such as soap, fertilizer, pet waste, and litter traveling down to rivers, lakes, and streams with the stormwater

Litter will eventually be carried to rivers and streams, causing water pollution. Even small trash like straw wrappers or organic material such as banana peels must be disposed of properly. Every piece of litter can be problematic to the water quality and disrupt the natural environment.

Help reduce litter and trash in waterways by:

  • Ensuring that every piece of trash you have is in its proper place. Always carry waste to the closest trash or recycling receptacle.
  • Keeping garbage and recycling cans tightly covered to prevent litter from being blown away or scattered by animals.
  • Covering your load. Cover any items that could blow onto the road if you have a truck or trailer.
  • Always dispose of cigarette butts appropriately. When butts are littered onto streets and sidewalks, they are easily washed, blown, or flicked down storm drains that lead straight into local creeks. In addition to being unsightly, cigarette butts never disappear because they are made of plastic and do not biodegrade. They are toxic to fish.
  • Please pick it up. Show you care for your community and inspire others by picking up litter that isn't yours. Go one step further and help organize a community cleanup with your neighbors and friends.
  • Organize or participate in a roadside/streamside litter cleanup event.
  • Join the Boone County's, City of Columbia's, or State of Missouri's Adopt a Road program to lead periodic roadside cleanup events.
  • Participate in the storm drain marking program program to remind people that street litter flows directly into local waterways. Order a storm drain marker.
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Prevent Illicit Discharge

It is illegal to dump or discharge pollutants into waterways. Illicit Discharges may include fuel and chemical spills, hazardous material dumped along a roadway or into a storm drain, leaking dumpsters, discolored or foul-smelling water, improper washing of concrete trucks, power washing to storm drains or waterbodies, leaking sanitary sewers, and other possibilities.

What can YOU do to help prevent illicit stormwater discharge? There are simple steps you can take to solve the problems our local waterways face.

  • Mark your local storm drains to share the knowledge of stormwater pollution and help keep our water clean for all! Order a storm drain marker.
  • Used oil, antifreeze, and batteries can be recycled. Clean up any spills immediately - kitty litter or sawdust will absorb the spill. Be sure to sweep these up as well.
  • Wash your car with biodegradable products on the lawn so that the soil will filter water, detergent, and dirt. Better yet, take your car to a commercial car wash, where the wash water is recycled or sent to the wastewater treatment plant.
  • Empty bottles of household cleaners, pesticides, and weed killers should be disposed of according to label directions.
  • Grass clippings in the street should be swept up after each mowing. Grass clippings left in the street are being washed down into the storm sewers and end up in the local waterways, where they may upset the nutrient balance.
  • Many household waste products, including paints, paint thinners, solvents, used oils, herbicides, and lawn chemicals, should be taken to a Household Hazardous Waste facility.
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Report Illegal Dumping

An illicit discharge is an unlawful act of disposing, dumping, spilling, emitting, or discharging any substance other than stormwater into the stormwater drainage system. The stormwater drainage system includes any street, catch basin, junction box, trench drain, swale, spillway, ditch, culvert, detention basin, roof drain, channel, inlet, wetland, lake, and stream.


Below are some examples of illicit discharges:

  • Paint being poured into or near the storm drainage system
  • Spilling oil or antifreeze over or near a storm structure
  • Washing motor pool vehicles where the runoff could drain into the storm drainage system
  • Washing dumpster pads and allowing the runoff to drain into the storm drainage system
  • Discharging swimming pool water directly into the storm drain system without dechlorinating the water


There are some exceptions to the discharge restrictions, described below:

  • Air conditioning condensate
  • Fire-fighting water runoff created during a fire emergency
  • Incidental runoff from landscape irrigation
  • Discharges from potable water sources
  • Groundwater discharges from sump pumps
  • Water line flushing
  • Flows from riparian habitats and wetlands
  • Dechlorinated swimming pool discharges

Report An Illicit Discharge

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Pet Waste

The Truth About Your Pet's Waste

  • Pet waste is more than just a gross and unsightly mess — it's an environmental pollutant and a human health hazard. When left on the ground, pet waste eventually breaks down and washes into the water supply, polluting our rivers, lakes, streams, creeks, and other local waterways.
  • The average dog excretes three-fourths of a pound of waste per day — or 274 pounds of waste per year!
  • It has been estimated that a single gram of dog waste can contain 23 million fecal coliform bacteria (including E. coli), known to cause cramps, diarrhea, intestinal illness, and serious kidney disorders in humans.
  • Dog waste is NOT fertilizer for your lawn. It is just the opposite and can be very toxic to your soil. Due to their high-protein diet, dog waste is highly acidic and may burn your grass, creating brown patches.

What You Can Do

Scoop it, Bag it, Trash it!

  • Dispose of pet waste by bagging the waste and placing it in the trash.
  • Frequently pick up pet waste in your yard.
  • Keep a supply of plastic bags near your pet's leash, and always take them with you when you walk your pet.
  • DO NOT FLUSH your pet's waste down the toilet to the sanitary sewer system. The sanitary sewer system was designed for human waste only.
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Please visit our Composting page for information on how to compost and the benefits it offers.

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Please visit the Resource Management Solid waste Recycling page to find drop-off locations and request a solid waste recycling pickup.

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Household Hazardous Waste

What Is Household Hazardous Waste?

Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) is any unwanted household product labeled as flammable, toxic, corrosive, or reactive. The most common products include aerosols, antifreeze, asbestos, fertilizers, motor oil, paint supplies, photo chemicals, poisons, and solvents.

Improper disposal of these products is illegal and can contaminate drinking water, pollute waterways, and seriously injure garbage, recycling collection, and landfill employees.

To find out more information on HHW and future collection events, visit the Mid=Missouri Solid Waste Management District's HHW Facilities in Region Hwebpage

HHW Safe Handling

Some quick tips for the safe handling of household hazardous wastes include:

  • Follow any instructions for use and storage on product labels carefully to prevent accidents at home.
  • Be sure to read product labels for disposal directions to reduce the risk of products exploding, igniting, leaking, mixing with other chemicals, or posing other hazards on the way to a disposal facility.
  • Never store hazardous products in food containers; keep them in original containers, and never remove labels. Corroding containers, however, require special handling. Call your local hazardous materials official or fire department for instructions.
  • When leftovers remain, never mix HHW with other products. Incompatible products might react, ignite, or explode, and contaminated HHW might become unrecyclable.
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Vehicle Maintenance

When it rains, car pollution washes into storm drains and then into local streams, lakes, and rivers. Pollutants like oil, car wash soaps and chemicals, and bits of tire dust are bad for water quality and harm people and wildlife, like fish and deer, that depend on clean water to survive.

Car Washing

When you wash your car, the rinse water contains harmful pollutants like oil, grease, heavy metals, and soaps. If you wash your car on the street or in your driveway, the pollutants run on the road, into the storm drain, and untreated into our local creeks, lakes, and rivers.

Take your car to a commercial car wash. The dirty water from commercial car washes is either recycled on-site or goes to a Wastewater Treatment Facility.

If using a commercial car wash isn't an option, wash your car in a grassy area. The grass and soil will soak up the wash water, preventing it from running down the street into a storm drain.

Don't Drip and Drive

Even a small oil leak can significantly impact your car and our creeks, lakes, and rivers. Oil and other petroleum products are toxic to people, wildlife, and plants.

Steps for Maintaining Your Vehicle and the Environment

  • Check your vehicle for leaks regularly and get them fixed promptly.
  • Always dispose of used motor oil properly by bringing a Household Hazardous Waste Event or your local auto shop for recycling.
  • Use ground cloths or drip pans if you find a leak or are doing engine work. Clean up spills immediately.
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Report Concerns

Community members are the key to ensuring safe and clean water in Boone County by reporting any nonemergency concerns about spills, dumping, or pollutants draining to the street, storm drain, drainage way, or waterway. Community members can better protect our waterways by reporting stormwater and land disturbance concerns.

Items to Watch For

  • Drainage ways or waterways with an unusual appearance or odor
  • Dumping of motor oil, chemicals, trash, or yard waste
  • Dirt from construction sites leaving the property
  • Commercially generated wash waters entering drainage ways or waterways (i.e., washing of vehicles, equipment, tools, structures, or from services such as carpet cleaning)
  • Improper outdoor storage of chemicals and other materials that can pollute the ground or stormwater runoff
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Stewardship Around Your Property


illustration of rainscaping techniques, such as permeable pavers, rain gardens, and woodland restoration

Rainscaping is any combination of plantings, water features, catch basins, permeable pavement, and other activities that manage stormwater as close as possible to where it falls, rather than moving it elsewhere. In addition to rain gardens and bioswales, a diverse landscape that includes trees, shrubs, perennials, mulch, and amended soils intercepts and disperses rain as it falls and allows more water absorption into the soil and by plants.

The Missouri Botanical Garden Rainscaping Guide can be used for guidance on which rainscaping features will work best in your yard and how to install them.

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Stream Buffer

Stream buffers, or riparian strips, are the green ribbons of life that protect our waterways. These living networks of native grasses, low-growing shrubs, flowers, and trees link land and water with robust root systems to support the banks. Streamside forests are nature's water filters, shock absorbers, and sponges. Trees and shrubs are the stream's last defense protecting waterways from pollution and damage. Stream buffers are essential for good water quality and healthy streams. They help prevent pollutants, pesticides, nutrients, and sediment from entering rivers and streams by slowing the water down, spreading it out, and allowing the stormwater to soak into the ground. Riparian strips are also crucial for wildlife habitat and productive fisheries. Root systems hold the soil in place so sediment does not wash into the stream and smother fish eggs or benthic insects, while shade from taller trees helps keep the stream cooler. Leaves and other debris provide food for insects that fish eat.

Boone County has established a stream buffer ordinance to protect streams and encourage riparian zones. The stream buffer comprises two zones, predominantly undisturbed strips of land extending along both sides of a stream and their adjacent wetlands, floodplains, or slopes. The type of stream and slope determine the size and presence of the setback regulation of the buffer system. You can read more about the Stream Buffer Ordinance on the Resource Management Regulations page

Stream Buffer Tips

  • Allow vegetation to grow at the edge of the stream bank.
  • Maintain a healthy stand of native trees and shrubs. For streamside buffers, the wider, the better. A minimum of 50 feet of vegetation is recommended.
  • Avoid using fertilizers or pesticides near waterways.
  • Keep livestock and motorized vehicles out of waterways.
  • Revegetate areas of exposed soil and control erosion when disturbing the soil.
  • Repair damaged streamside buffers by planting appropriate trees, grasses, or shrubs.
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Disconnect Downspouts

Downspout disconnection from sewer lines and redirecting downspouts are important for preventing flood damage and protecting our local waterways. Allowing downspouts to empty into the sewers and storm drains exposes your and your neighbors' homes to basement flooding, and it could also expose local rivers, lakes, and streams to the potential for contamination from polluted stormwater.

The gutters on your home are there to manage the water that flows down your roof. The downspouts channel the water down from the roof. On some homes, the downspouts connect to an extension that releases the water onto the ground and away from the home. In other homes, the downspouts connect to pipes that connect to the local wastewater sewers or storm drains.

Disconnect and Redirect Downspouts

We are always thankful for the moisture when it rains in July and August. And yet this valuable resource is often directed off of properties and out of town as quickly as possible via downspouts and storm drains.

Suppose you have gutters and downspouts that drain roof runoff directly into the stormwater system or onto your driveway. You can redirect your disconnected downspouts to the lawn, rain barrels, or rain gardens. In that case, disconnecting and redirecting is an easy first step to creating a rain-friendly yard. Stormwater runoff that drains into storm drains (storm sewers) is rapidly conveyed to a nearby stream, river, or other water body. Unlike sanitary sewers, most water from storm drains is not treated at a wastewater treatment plant; instead, it flows directly to a water body taking pollutants with it. Individuals can reduce the amount of water leaving their property and the pollutants that go with it by disconnecting downspouts.

Note: Downspout disconnection may not be appropriate for all locations. Consider local regulations and where the water will be directed to avoid property damage, unsafe conditions, or other potential problems.

How to Disconnect a Downspout
  1. Cut the existing downspout approximately 9 inches above the sewer standpipe with a hacksaw.
  2. Cap the sewer standpipe.
  3. Attach an elbow by crimping the downspout with pliers to ensure a good fit. Connect the elbow to the downspout using sheet metal screws. It may be necessary to pre-drill holes.
  4. Attach the other end of the elbow into the extension and secure it with sheet metal screws. Water should drain at least five feet away from the house, so direct the extension accordingly. A splash block may help direct water further away from the house.
  5. If desired, redirect the downspout to rain barrels or rain gardens.
Sewer Line Disconnect

Downspouts that are illegally connected to wastewater treatment plants or on-site sewer treatment can cause sewers to be overwhelmed. When built, sewers are designed to handle a certain amount of water. During times of heavy rain or snowmelt, an excess of water can cause the sewers and drains to become overwhelmed. This can cause wastewater to back up into the drains in people's homes or result in contaminated water being released into the local waterways.

Downspout disconnection is disconnecting your downspouts from municipal wastewater drainage systems, disconnecting the downspouts from the pipe that runs into the ground, and refitting them to allow the water to flow onto the ground.

When your downspouts are connected to the sewers or drains, it contributes to these problems. By disconnecting the downspouts, you take some of the stress off the local drainage systems, and instead, the water is released onto the ground. Once on the ground, the water can be absorbed into the local water table.

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Water Conservation

Changing a few simple habits can significantly impact water consumption, and embracing good practices now can nourish our state for generations to come.

As our population grows, more and more people use this limited resource. Therefore, it is essential that we use our water wisely and not waste it.

Indoor Water Conservation

  • Check for water leaks.
    • Check the meter reading. Meters are usually along the water main, in the ground, or in the basement.
    • Stop all water use for 30 minutes.
    • Check the meter reading. If the number has changed, it's time to check for leaks.
  • Fix leaking faucets.
    • A slow leak in a faucet can waste 15 to 20 gallons of water daily.
    • The majority of leaks are due to worn-out washers. Turn off the water supply and replace the washer.
    • If the faucet still leaks, consult a do-it-yourself manual available at most hardware stores or the library.
  • Toilets should be seen, not heard.
    • If you hear the water in your toilet running long after you flush, you could waste hundreds of gallons daily. Toilet leaks can waste up to 200 gallons of water per day. By replacing old, inefficient toilets with efficient models, the average family can reduce water used for toilets by 20 to 60 percent.
    • Most toilet leaks are easily repaired. Take off the toilet tank lid and flush. Many problems can be readily recognized.
    • Check the overflow pipe. If water spills over the top, the arm must be adjusted so the valve shuts off the water sooner.
    • Put a few drops of food coloring in the reservoir tank to check for leaks around the stopper. Don't flush for one hour. If the color appears in the toilet bowl, the stopper at the bottom of the tank should be replaced.
    • Each flush of a standard toilet uses approximately 7 gallons of water. To reduce the amount of water used, fill a small plastic bottle (for example, a 32-ounce soda container) with water and put it in the corner of the tank. Keep the bottle clear of the valve stopper. Don't displace so much water that you need to double flush. Don't use a brick or any other item that could disintegrate and cause problems.
    • Properly dispose of any waste that should not be put in the toilet.
  • Conserve shower water
    • Typical shower heads use around 2.5 gallons of water per minute. Install a low-flow shower head and use only ~1.5 gallons.
    • Limit yourself to five-minute showers and fill the tub with only 5 inches of bath water.
  • Conserve water in daily activities.
    • Don't leave the water running while brushing your teeth, shaving, or washing dishes in the sink.
    • Wash only full loads in your dishwasher and washing machine.

Outdoor Water Conservation

Did you know that residential outdoor water use across the United States accounts for nearly 8 billion gallons daily, mainly for landscape irrigation? The average US household uses more water outdoors than showering and washing clothes combined.

  • Choosing the correct plant
    • Plant drought-resistant trees and plants. Many beautiful trees and plants thrive with far less watering than other plants. Native vegetation is usually a good choice.
    • Put a layer of mulch around trees and plants. Mulch will slow evaporation or moisture loss and discourage weed growth, too.
  • Watering the yard
    • Water your lawn only when it needs it. Stepping on the grass is a good way to see if your lawn needs water. It doesn't need water if it springs back up when you move. If it stays flat, fetch the sprinkler.
    • Deep soak your lawn. When you water, do it long enough for the moisture to soak down to the roots, where it will do the most good. A light sprinkling can evaporate quickly and tend to encourage shallow root systems.
    • Water during the cool part of the day to avoid evaporation. Early morning is generally better than dusk since it helps prevent fungus growth.
    • Don't water the pavement. Position your sprinkler so water lands on the lawn or garden, not on paved areas. Also, avoid watering on windy days.
    • Use a broom, not a hose, to clean driveways and sidewalks.
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Mowing & Yard Care

Caring for our yards directly affects the quality and quantity of the water in our lakes and streams. Each person has their own idea of how a yard should be kept. Some people love a native landscape with small turf grass areas, while others find pride in a perfectly manicured green lawn. The golf course look may bring joy to many people, but if not managed properly, it can harm our streams and the local environment. Rain and irrigation water picks up the litter, debris, and chemicals from the ground and takes them to the local stream. Native plants have many benefits to our stormwater and ecosystem. However, many people like to incorporate trimmed grass as well. You can minimize the impact of well-manicured lawns by making small alterations to your summer lawn care and reducing your stormwater runoff!

Let Turf Grass Grow Taller

Increasing the mower height to 3 inches or more is a small alteration with many benefits, including healthier lawns. The taller grass can establish longer and denser root systems. The roots act as a pathway for water to trickle down into the soil, reducing the need for watering. Vegetation and roots slow down runoff allowing for more water to be used by the grass. Additionally, the thicker roots and taller grass naturally block the ability of weeds to grow in your yard, saving you time and energy while decreasing pollution entering our waterways.

Mulch Don't Waste

Bagging grass clippings can help supply a clean-cut look. However, you are mining the soil by taking the clippings and leaves. Grass cutting and leaves have many nutrients, such as phosphorus and nitrogen, necessary for plant growth. Removing plant matter from yards drives the need for outside nutrients from substances such as fertilizer.

A mulching mower on grass and leaves can supply a clean-cut look while allowing organic material and nutrients to remain in your yard. Mulched organic material on and in the soil slows down runoff and increases water infiltration into the soil.

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Deep-Rooted Native Plants

Native plants are beautiful! They come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. These grasses, flowers, and trees have been in the area for thousands of years. Native plants are great to look at, but they offer a lot more than good looks alone. They have a well-established relationship with the surrounding environment. Soils, animals, insects, climates, and microorganisms are interdependent on the region's native plant varieties. Below are some of the countless benefits of planting native species in your yard!

  • Reduce stormwater pollution.
  • Native plants soak up more water than ornamental grasses that are found in most yards.
  • Native plants have deeper roots compared to non-natives.
  • These deeper roots offer many advantages.
  • Roots act as a pathway for water to make it deeper into the soil, improving the soil quality and the water availability for the surrounding plants.
  • Since native plants are already adapted to the area, they do not need as much attention. They generally do not need as much water, fertilizer, and pesticides.
  • Less watering and increased infiltration decreases the amount of runoff containing pollutants compared to non-natives.

Flood Reduction

Because of their deeper roots, native plants create more pathways in the soil that can better slow down and absorb rainwater. Using native plants can reduce the amount of water that pools on the road and causing flash flooding events.

Provide Habitat for Wildlife

There's nothing better than Missouri wildlife. Diverse and healthy plant communities can provide food and shelter for local wildlife. Native plants and animals have developed a complicated relationship over the years. They rely on one another to prosper. As seen in the image above, Milkweed is a beautiful addition to a landscape and necessary for reproducing Monarch Butterflies. Natives can also be used to discourage unwanted wildlife from being around your home. Plants such as wild onions, garlic, and marigolds can help keep pests away.

How to Start

Choosing the correct native plants for your yard can seem overwhelming at first. Many organizations can help. "Grow Native" is an organization whose goals are to support and encourage native planting and assist people along the way. If you need help finding the perfect plant for your yard conditions, tools on "The Blue Thumb" website may be helpful.

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Tree Planting

Trees in our communities provide many services beyond the inherent beauty they lend to streets and properties. One of the most overlooked and underappreciated qualities of trees is their ability to reduce the volume of water rushing through gutters and pipes following a storm. This means less investment in expensive infrastructure and, more importantly, cleaner water runoff reaches rivers and lakes. The next time you experience a rainstorm, consider the fantastic service each tree provides to the quality of our environment. Aside from keeping you dry, the leaves and bark of a tree retain a huge amount of water, allowing some of it to evaporate and some to reach the ground. Depending on size and species, a single tree may store 100 gallons or more until it reaches saturation after about one to two inches of rainfall. This interception and redistribution can be significant when multiplied by the number of trees in a community. The deep roots of trees also help more of the water that reaches the ground to infiltrate into the soil.

Trees give us shade on blistering hot afternoons, make cozy dens for all sorts of woodland creatures, yield wood for baseball bats and golf clubs, and provide the pulp for paper. You might be surprised to learn they can also improve your child's ability to learn, lower your blood pressure, raise the value of your property, and bring more shoppers to your community.

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Fertilize Appropriately

It is best to avoid using fertilizer on lawns. Inadequate use of fertilizer, using too much, or using it when it is not needed is very harmful to grass. When and if fertilizer is used, it is critical to know the proper methods to minimize the amount of pollution leaving your yard. Incorrectly applied fertilizer can run off yards and hard surfaces entering our lakes and streams. When fertilizer gets into our waterways, it can upset the natural balance of nutrients in the water, potentially leading to algae blooms that can be toxic to animals that live in and drink the water. When algae die, they remove oxygen from the water. This results in areas with no oxygen, such as the 'dead zone' in the Gulf of Mexico, as seen in the image below. The problem hits even closer to home if algal blooms occur in drinking water sources because as little as 10 milligrams of nitrogen in a liter can cause 'blue baby syndrome' in newborns.

Keep it Clean

  • Keep grass, leaves, and fertilizer off the roads, away from storm drains and grates.
  • Do not apply within 30 ft of streams.
  • Sweep stray fertilizer onto the lawn.
  • Store fertilizer in a shelter away from moisture.

When to Apply Chemical Fertilizer

  • During the Growing season ~March-October, nitrogen is the most beneficial in the spring.
  • Do not apply before it rains or watering the yard because the water will wash away the fertilizer.
  • Fertilize after watering the lawn.
  • Always clearly read the bag-specified application instruction, and check if amounts are given per application or year. Apply according to package specifications.

Test the Soil Before Application.

Testing the soil every 3 to 5 years is crucial to know what nutrients are in the land and what might be lacking. You can get your soil checked through MU. It is best to combine multiple samples taken from a range of places in the yard.


Composting your clippings, leaves, and food waste is a great alternative if you do not like the look of mulched grass clippings or use fertilizer. Incorporating a wide range of nutrients in your compost will make it more beneficial once the matured compost is applied.

Apply matured compost the following spring.

Types of Fertilizer

  • Start with fertilizer with low phosphorus and nitrogen concentrations to prevent runoff and burning of the grass.
  • Slow-release nitrogen can prevent fertilizer from being lost in runoff. Fertilizers with a high concentration of nitrogen applied in large amounts and too late in the season can limit root growth and the resilience of the turf.
  • 1 pound per 1000 square feet is the advised lawn application maximum for all types of fertilizer.
  • Phosphorus is important when setting up lawns. However, little is often needed after the first year. Purple and red pigments in grass blades are an indicator of low phosphorus.
  • Organic fertilizer releases nutrients slower, requiring fewer applications and reducing runoff concentrations.
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Snow Removal

Salt or ice melt keeps roads, parking lots, driveways, sidewalks, and the public safer in the winter. When snow and ice melt, the salt goes with it, polluting our lakes, streams, wetlands, and groundwater.

Once chloride from road salt is in the environment, it does not disappear. Chlorides can alter soil chemical and biological composition, slow plant growth, damage vehicles, and weaken concrete, brick, steel, and stone infrastructure. One teaspoon of salt can pollute five gallons of water to a toxic level for freshwater organisms.

Together, we can use the right amount of salt to keep roads safe while reducing our environmental impact. You can help by following the Tips for Snow Removal and going to to learn more about solutions to stormwater pollution and being Salt Smart.

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On-Site Wastewater Maintenance

You can read more about Boone County's on-site wastewater systems ordinance for the construction of new on-site sewage treatment facilities and for remodeling or repairs of older systems to ensure wastewater disposal in Boone County meets modern public health standards.

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Prevent Illicit Pool Discharge

How Can Water From Pools and Spas Be Harmful?

Water from a spa or pool is routinely treated with chlorine to prevent bacterial growth that can be hazardous to humans. However, chlorinated water is deadly to freshwater aquatic life.

How Should You Drain Your Pool or Spa?

Before draining your pool or spa completely, you must discontinue the addition of salt and chlorine. Test to ensure the chlorine is below 0.1 mg/L and the pH is between 6.5 and 8.5 before draining. Water should be directed onto a grassy, salt-tolerant landscape that can absorb all water. Water from backwash filter systems should be directed to the sanitary sewer system through a drain in your home or discharged directly onto the lawn. Drain water through at least 15 feet of a grassy landscape first (i.e. not directly onto concrete) to allow the remaining chemicals to dissipate before reaching the storm drain. Keep the flow of water low (shoot for 700 gallons per hour = 12 gallons per minute or so) - to prevent erosion and fix the landscaped area later.

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Construction, Building, & Land Disturbance

Learn more about Boone County's stormwater ordinance and stormwater manual in affiliation with development. Other resources include the necessary steps to take while attempting to develop land in Boone County and all forms associated with the correct processes concerning stormwater and avoiding violations that may hinder the developmental goals of a project can be found in the Land Development section.

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Commercial Stewardship

In addition to the Stormwater Residential action, Commercial properties can limit stormwater pollution by increasing the amount of stormwater runoff absorbed on the property and minimize onsite contamination sources.

illustration of various commercial stewardship actions

Litter Prevention

Litter will eventually be carried to rivers and streams, causing water pollution. Even small trash like straw wrappers or organic material such as banana peels must be disposed of properly. Every piece of litter can be problematic to the water quality and disrupt the natural environment. Your commercial property can help reduce little by having and maintaining accessible trash can and ash trays. Put trash cans and cigarette receptacles in highly trafficked, visible areas, including employee break areas.

Keep Trash Receptacle and Dumpster Lids Closed

One of the most common ways to pollute stormwater is leaving a dumpster lid open or allowing the dumpster to become overfull. When it rains, stormwater can accumulate inside and potentially leak pollutants from the receptacle.

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Prevent Illicit Discharge

It is illegal to dump or discharge pollutants into waterways. Illicit Discharges may include fuel and chemical spills, hazardous material dumped along a roadway or into a storm drain, leaking dumpsters, discolored or foul-smelling water, improper washing of concrete trucks, power washing to storm drains or waterbodies, leaking sanitary sewers, and other possibilities.

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Grease Traps

Install and maintain grease traps, clean grease traps often and store the waste for pickup by a waste hauler. Never pour cooking oil, grease, or fats into sinks, floor drains, solid waste containers, or outside.

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Waste/wash Water Disposal

Pollutants generated daily, such as mop water, should be disposed of in the sanitary sewer.

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Chemical Handling & Storage

Provide secure, covered storage for on-site chemicals. Inspect routinely for leaks and spills. Create an enclosure and spill containment area for chemicals stored outdoors.

When cleaning use biodegradable chemicals whenever possible. If using a cleaning service, be sure they follow good practices when choosing cleaning supplies and disposing of waste.

Chemical Spill Reporting

  • Report spills to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources' Environmental Emergency Response Spill Line at 573-634-2436, or the National Response Center at 800-424-8802.
  • EER staff are responsible for addressing any material released to land, water or into the atmosphere that may impact the environment and public health. The department's spill line provides a single answering point for local and state agencies to request state-level assistance for emergencies, serious accidents, or incidents or for reporting hazardous materials and petroleum spills.
  • Clean Up Spills Using Dry Cleanup Methods. When it rains, pollutants can be picked up and migrate to a storm facility, groundwater, or stream. Use dry absorbents and sweeping methods to clean up spills. Never hose down a spill, especially into a storm drain.
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Agricultural Stewardship

Agricultural runoff is made up of fertilizers, pesticides, animal manure, and other materials used in agricultural production. When fertilizers are not fully used by plants and animal waste is not fully incorporated into soil, the excess of these products can be washed by rain anywhere downstream.

illustration of the agricultural water cycle

Best Management Practice

Conservation practices, frequently called best management practices, or BMPs, are tools that farmers can use to reduce soil and fertilizer runoff, properly manage animal waste, and protect water and air quality on their farms. These practices also reduce the amount of carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide in the atmosphere and the amount of nitrogen pollution going into the waterways.

Agriculture BMPs

  • Cover crops;
  • Streamside vegetated buffers;
  • Diversifying crops that are planted continuous no-till;
  • Silvopasture;
  • Nutrient management; and
  • Streamside fencing with alternative water sources.

Additional resources for information about how the agricultural community can benefit our waterways:

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Animal Waste Disposal

Livestock manure contains bacteria, nitrogen, ammonia, and phosphates. When rain falls on manure, these contaminants can be carried to local waterways by rainwater runoff. When these pollutants enter our waterways, they can be detrimental to people, pets, and livestock.

Ways to Reduce Manure Runoff:

  • Cover manure stockpiles
  • Divert surface water runoff away from manure piles
  • Increase vegetation in pastures, particularly along streambanks
  • Rotationally graze pasture animals
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