Learn How

Clean Stream Water - Scoop Poop

Scoop the Poop

Help stop Poo-llution and keep harmful bacteria out of our waters. Picking up after your pet is a simple way to keep pollution out of our waterways while keeping our parks, neighborhoods and yards clean.

There are over 110,000* dogs in New Castle County generating approximately 41 tons* of poop daily. It’s the same as untreated sewage washing into our waters!

An average size dog dropping can contain 3 billion harmful bacteria.  Rain washes these bacteria and nutrients into our streams, rivers and beaches which can make water unsafe for swimming and recreation.

What you can do:

  • Scoop the poop: Every time. Use bio-degradable bags or re-use old plastic bags and dispose of it in the trash.
  • Keep your poop bags handy: Near your dog leash, by the door, or in your car.
  • Scoop before it rains: Don’t wait.

If you don’t have a dog, you can still make a difference:

  • If you have your own septic system: Pump your tank at least every three years.
  • Prevent extra poop: Avoid feeding ducks or geese. Feeding discourages migration and when birds don’t migrate, their poop becomes an all-year problem.

* Estimate based on 34% of households owning 1.6 dogs (American Veterinary Medical Assoc) x 200,000 NCC households (US Census 2013-17) x .75 lbs waste/dog

Garden for Water and Life

You can have a beautiful – and safe – yard without harmful chemicals.  Most yard chemicals, including herbicides, fertilizers and pesticides aren’t needed and pollute the waters that we rely upon for drinking and for recreation. These chemicals can be toxic to our families, pets and the birds and butterflies that live in our yards.

Gardening with native plants – plants that originated in this area – supports both water and wildlife. These plants thrive in our climate and are easy to grow and care for without using extra water or chemicals. Native trees, shrubs and plants improve water quality by filtering pollutants and help to absorb excess water with their deep roots. Plus, their seeds, berries and leaves are great food for birds, butterflies and pollinating insects.

Clean Stream Water - Garden for Water & Life

What you can do:

  • Let Liveable Lawns guide your lawn care practices: Leave your grass clippings, test your soil and fertilize only in the fall if the soil test recommend it.
  • Create a ‘Chemical-free Zone’: Don’t use herbicides and pesticides. Avoid applying chemicals within 20 ft. of waterways or next to or on paved surfaces.
  • Predators instead of pesticides: Natural solutions such as attracting predators (birds, dragonflies, toads) and manually removing pests is usually more effective and always safer than pesticides that harm bees, butterflies and songbirds.
  • Welcome wildlife: Turn your yard into a Certified Wildlife Habitat by providing food, shelter, water, and places to raise young.
  • Nature needs natives: Attract birds, butterflies and other beneficial insects by planting native plants. (NPS link)

If you don’t have a yard, you can still make a difference:

  • Participate in a local tree planting or restoration project
  • Volunteer to help maintain a community or school garden
Clean Stream Water - Only Rain Down The Drain

Only Rain Down the Storm Drain

What washes down storm drains goes straight into our streams and rivers. Rainwater runs over our yards, parking lots, and roads picking up pollutants like trash, oil, lawn chemicals, and soil before flowing into storm drains. Water in storm drains eventually lands (untreated) into our ponds and waterways and is a major source of pollution in New Castle County’s drinking water and waterways.

Runoff can be contaminated and also causes flooding.  Before our region was developed, most of the land was covered in forests, wetlands and marshes. When it rained, most of the rainwater would slowly soak into the ground. Because our landscape now includes homes, businesses and shopping centers, rainwater can’t soak through hard surfaces such as roads and parking lots but instead runs quickly over these surfaces and causes flooding.

What can you do:

  • Soak up spills: Clean up oil and other car fluid spills or leaks. Don’t let them come in contact with rainwater.
  • Scoop the Poop
  • Contain what goes down the storm drain: Keep grass clippings, leaves, litter, fertilizer, mulch and loose soil off hard surfaces to keep everything other than water out of the storm drains. Place yard waste for collection in approved containers or mulch and rake into the grass strip between the curb and sidewalk.
  • Wash your wheels wisely: Wash your car on the lawn or use a commercial car wash that recycles water.
  • Slow the flow: Reduce excess water running off your property into storm drains. Direct downspouts onto your lawn or garden, plant and maintain a rain garden, and/or install a rain barrel to collect and use rain water.

If you live in a community, you can also make a difference by:

  • Making sure your stormwater management facilities are maintained properly.

Dumping harmful pollutants, such as motor oil, into storm drains is illegal. New Castle County residents should report any pollution going into or out of the storm sewer system by contacting the pollution hotline at: 

Call or text 302STOPPIT (302.786.7748), or write hotline@302stoppit.org

Learn more:   www.302stoppit.org/home

Reduce Household Chemicals

What goes down our kitchen or bathroom drains can end up in the water that we drink or play in. Sewage treatment plants can remove many, but not all, chemicals that go down our toilets or sinks – and we all pay for this costly treatment. Chemical cleaners, medications, paint, and lawn chemicals are common pollutants that can pass through treatment and end up in our waterways.

Whenever possible, buy products that are free of toxic chemicals. Read the label and choose the least hazardous product to do the job. The words “warning”, “danger”, and “poison” indicate that the product’s ingredients are harmful so try to avoid. Try to select products that are made from plant-based materials, such as citrus, vegetable or pine oils. 

Clean Stream Water - Reduce Hazardous Chemicals

What you can do:

  • Spy before you buy: Read the label – products labeled hazardous, toxic, or caustic are harmful. Follow instructions to use the correct amount of a product – you won’t get twice the results by using twice as much. Only buy what you need for the job you’re working on.
  • Simply soap: Avoid using antibacterial soaps and soaps with microbeads.
  • Cleaner cleaning: Choose non-hazardous products when you can. Lemon juice, vinegar, hot water, borax, soap and baking soda are good alternatives to harsh chemical cleansers – and less expensive, too!
  • Danger free disposal: Properly dispose of leftover medication and hazardous household products. Instead of dumping medication down the drain, DE residents can dispose of medications here. Hazardous household waste can be disposed of here.
Clean Stream Water - Cease the Grease

Cease the Grease

Pouring cooking greases down the drain can lead to water pollution. Fat, oil, and grease harden in pipes, causing them to clog. Clogged pipes can lead to expensive homeowner plumbing repairs and even to sewer overflows that introduce harmful bacteria into our waters. Avoid creating a messy and expensive problem for everyone, not to mention our creeks and rivers. Running hot water along with cooking greases doesn’t help. Eventually the fat will still congeal and cause the same issues.

What you can do:

  • Trash that fat: Let kitchen fats cool in a container – such as a used soup can – and throw it away in the trash. Wipe or scrape excess oil from pots and pans into the trash.
  • Catch the yuck: Place a strainer in the sink drain to catch food scraps and other solids.
  • Support local schools: Participate in the annual Great Schools, Clean Streams campaign (no child necessary to participate.) Winning schools earn cash prizes.

Learn more:   www.nccde.org/213/Fats-Oils-Grease