LIVINGSTON, NJ – Livingston Township Engineer Jeannette Harduby reminds residents that effective stormwater management helps “keep water sources clean and helps maintain drain and sewer systems. It’s an easy way to keep Livingston’s water supply safe.”

Stormwater is rain or melted snow that is either absorbed into the soil or runs off through storm drains and into local bodies of water, like lakes, rivers and streams. In developed areas with more roads, rooftops, and other impervious surfaces, stormwater produces a greater amount of runoff, which flows into storm drains and sewer systems at a faster rate.

“If not managed properly, runoff that exceeds the system’s capacity can cause flooding and pollution,” said Harduby. “It can contaminate our drinking water, and damage local habitats and infrastructure.”  

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Less absorption into the soil also means lowered groundwater levels, and low groundwater levels can lead to droughts.

“Here in Livingston, we’re fortunate to mainly use well later; we want our water supply to stay safe and plentiful,” said Livingston Mayor Shawn Klein. “I urge all of our residents to take simple steps to help minimize the effects of stormwater runoff and reduce pollution.”

Residents have more control over reducing stormwater pollution than they may think. Here are a few easy ways in which individuals can help protect our water system:   

  • Keep sewer grates cleared off. Don’t dispose of leaves, trash, motor oil, pet waste, or any other items in the street or in stormwater catch basins/sewer grates. Blocked catch basins keep water from draining properly and pollute the water that drains.
  • Plant shrubs in the spring. Shrubs and trees help to prevent excess runoff by increasing soil absorption and decreasing erosion. They also require less fertilizer than grass, which lowers pollution levels.
  • Clean up after your pet. Animal waste pollutes the water that flows into our rivers and lakes.
  • Don’t litter. Trash left on the ground can block drainage and cause pollution in bodies of water.
  • If you live near a stream, don’t obstruct the water flow. Be sure to leave trash, leaves, branches, and other items on the curb to be collected—not blocking the stream, which can cause flooding.
  • Take your car to a car wash instead of washing it in your driveway. When you wash your car on the pavement, soap, oil, and anything on your car can run into the storm drain.

“Remember that every one of those sewer grates eventually leads to a river,” said Klein. “If pollutants are getting into the sewers, they’re ending up in our water supply.”

For more tips on controlling stormwater runoff at home, visit www.cleanwaternj.org, a website run by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

For more about stormwater management in Livingston, visit www.livingstonnj.org