What Can I Do To Protect Our Water Resources?

What we do on the land affects our water resources. The following are many simple measures we can take to help prevent water pollution. 


Litter, Trash, Waste Material

Litter Pickup

Properly dispose of waste. Don't litter. All of those wrappers, cigarette butts and other items carelessly tossed out of a car window are carried to the nearest stormdrain. When it rains, these pollutants end up in our creeks and streams. Pick up litter or get involved in a Community-wide cleanup.

Properly dispose cigarette butts. Cigarette butts are the most common type of litter. They are extremely slow to degrade when littered and are comprised of toxic chemicals. Once cigarette butts make it to our waterways the chemicals they contain are leached into the water where they degrade water quality and aquatic habitats. Want to learn more? Check out this article. 

Pick up your pet's waste.  Animal wastes contain bacteria, viruses and nutrients that when carried in stormwater run-off can contribute to poor water quality. Even if you are not worried about the quality of our local waterways, you may be concerned about the impact of improperly disposed dog waste. Consistent improper disposal of pet stools, or not disposing at all, can contaminate your lawn and affect your whole family, including your pet. Find out more about the hazards associated with pet waste. Map your dog walking route with this pet waste station map.

Properly dispose of household chemicals such as oil, cleaners, solvents and paints. Visit the website for the Waste Commission of Scott County to view a full list of acceptable items and to schedule an appointment.



Lawn Maintenance

Lawn Mower

Mulch grass clippings back on to the lawn. Did you know mulching leaves and grass clippings back onto your lawn puts nutrients such as nitrogen back into your lawn and can improve the organic content of your lawns soils? The practice of mulching clippings and leaves back onto your lawn can also help suppress weeds and retain soil moisture. 

Consider home composting.  Reduce yard and food scrap wastes, and have a great lawn?  Grass clippings, leaves and food scraps such as apple cores, banana and orange peels, melon rinds, coffee grounds and eggshells can be recycled and put to good use through home composting.  Not only will you avoid disposal fees, but you will produce beneficial nutrient rich compost for use in all of your lawn and garden projects without having to purchase the product. Find out how to get started.

Improve soil quality. Compacted, nutrient deficient soil not only requires a lot of chemicals to stay green, but it does not absorb, filter or retain much of the precipitation needed to maintain a healthy lawn. Aerating your lawn and adding a little compost can increase the soil’s organic matter content, increasing the availability of nutrients and the soils ability to retain rain and/or the moisture it needs to stay healthy.

Apply fertilizer only when you need to. Before applying fertilizer find out what your lawn needs by having your soils tested. Pay special attention to: pH, phosphorous, nitrogen and organic matter. After reviewing your soil report, make a plan. Does applying fertilizer make the most sense, or should you spend a little time aerating and applying a thin layer of Compost?  Residents should specifically look at those items that have the greatest potential to reduce contaminated run-off and personal monetary expense (watering and chemical costs). Click here to learn more about applying fertilizer. 

Properly dispose yard waste. In accordance with the Clean Water Act and City ordinance, you can be fined for blowing or depositing grass clippings and yard wastes into the street or directly into or near a water body. Grass clippings and yard wastes that end up on streets and in our waterways degrade water quality and can reduce oxygen levels necessary to support aquatic life. In addition, when washed to nearby storm drains during rain events this lawn debris can clog catch basins and contribute to localized flooding. The City offers a number of ways to properly dispose yard waste.


Reduce Run-off and Retain Rain

Rain Barrel

Install a rain barrel to capture water running off of your rooftop.  Rain barrels are a great way to capture water for reuse in watering lawns and gardens. 

Install a rain garden to infiltrate precipitation and reduce run-off from your rooftop and paved or impervious surfaces. Rain gardens can add curb appeal, provide habitat and are a great way to reduce water pollution. Watch an informational video on rain gardens or find out more on how to install a rain garden.

Switch to native turf. Does it seem like it is time to mow the lawn again every time you turn around? If you are interested in mowing less while still enjoying a beautiful lush green lawn, you may want to consider planting native turf. The deep roots of native plants allow rainfall to infiltrate into the soil. Native turf can prevent stormwater run-off and requires less maintenance. Find out how to get started.

Discover the benefits of native plants.

Install permeable pavement. Permeable pavements reduce stormwater runoff by filtering water rather than shedding it. They also improve water quality, can act as a flood mitigation tool, and reduce plowing and salting needs. Find out more about permeable pavement at this link or stop by Davenport’s first permeable pavement street located at the 2900 Block of Dover Court.

Plant a tree! Trees are the most natural way to prevent stormwater run-off pollution. They filter pollutants through photosynthesis, their leaves and branches reduce soil erosion from rain, and they even reduce our consumption of energy resources. For more information about the benefits of trees check out the link here. For more information about the selection and planting of trees, visit cityofdavenportiowa.com/forestry or if you want to learn more about how trees prevent stormwater pollution check out this article.


Financial Aid is available.

The Scott County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) offers a 50/50 cost share program (up to $2,000) to support installation of stormwater management projects that infiltrate stormwater including: soil quality restoration, rain gardens, native turf and landscapes, bioretention cells and bioswales, permeable paving and green roofs


Things Your Parents Didn’t Know

Unsure Individual

Wash your car at the car wash or on your lawn to ensure that the soap and what you wash off your car doesn't end up in our watersheds. Learn more about what this soapy wastewater can contain and other measures you can take if you choose wash your car at home.

Reduce the salt intake of our waterways when keeping driveways and sidewalks clear of snow. Shovel early and often. Reduce salt use; limit access to your home to one entrance. Throwing more salt on will not speed up the melting process. For more tips visit the link here.



Remember, only rain down the drain!