Stormwater Information for Braintree Residents
Braintree residents are a crucial part of keeping our waterways healthy and clean. To find out how you can do your part in preventing stormwater pollution, read the helpful tips below.
Pet waste is a major source of bacteria, particularly fecal coliforms including E. coli. The harmful bacteria in pet waste makes its way into our local water bodies when pet waste is improperly disposed of by being left on the ground or tossed into a storm drain. Please carry a plastic bag when you walk your dog so you can pick up the waste and properly dispose of it in a trash can.
- To learn more about pet waste’s impact on our stormwater system, read this brochure about Dog Waste and Surface Water Quality.
Excess fertilizers and pesticides applied to lawns and gardens wash off and pollute streams. Fertilizers contain nitrogen and phosphorous, which contribute to the growth of algae blooms in waterways. Algae removes oxygen from the water, which causes fish and other aquatic organisms to die off.
- Water Friendly Lawn Care Tips
Don’t over-fertilize or over-apply pesticides. When use is necessary, use these chemicals in the recommended amounts. Consider using Integrated Pest Management (IPM) in maintaining your lawn. You can even test your own soil to see whether or not you need to fertilize at all.
Don’t overwater your lawn. The more you water your lawn, the quicker chemicals and debris from it will enter the storm drain.
Mow your lawn less frequently. Healthy lawns should be cut to 3-4” in height, preferably with a mulching lawn mower. This reduces the need for watering and fertilizer.
Grass clippings and leaves clog storm drains and cause flooding. In Braintree, yard waste is collected curbside for a period of time in the spring and fall of each year.
- You can also bring your yard waste to the Braintree Compost Site on 225 Plain Street or compost in your backyard.
- To learn more about composting and yard waste collection, visit the “Yard Waste Services” section of the Braintree Trash & Recycling website.
When automotive fluids drip onto roads, driveways, and parking lots, stormwater runoff will carry them into waterways. Washing your car at home can flush detergents and other contaminants into the storm drain system.
- Water Friendly Auto Care Tips
Always use a drip pan to catch used fluids while you are working on your car. To find out where to properly dispose of automotive fluids, visit the Braintree Trash & Recycling website.
Never pour chemicals - automotive or otherwise - down a storm drain.
If you spill anything, mop it up quickly and dispose of it properly.
Professional car washes have a catchment system that treats the dirty water that they produce. If possible, bring your car to a car wash instead of washing it at home.
If you’re washing your car at home, park your car on the grass so that the runoff is absorbed by your lawn instead of running off into the storm drain.
Use a funnel to prevent spillage while filling automotive fluids.
Hazardous Household Waste
Our homes can become cluttered with household chemicals like cleaners, medicines, pesticides, herbicides, old paint, and so on. It’s crucial that we keep all of these chemicals out of our water bodies, so don’t pour them in the toilet, sink, or storm drain.
To see what household chemicals are considered hazardous waste, read the Braintree Household Hazardous Waste Collection flyer. The Town hosts two hazardous waste collections each year – one in the spring and one in the fall. Check the Braintree Trash & Recycling website for upcoming hazardous waste collection dates.
You may also contact Clean Harbors in Braintree to dispose of hazardous waste year-round.
If you are connected to a septic system, it is important to ensure that the system is in working order to prevent pollution to local waterways. If you smell sewage, see an unusually large amount of vegetation growing in your leach field, or notice that sewage is backing up into your home, your septic system may be in need of repair.
- For more information on how to care for your septic system, visit MassDEP’s website on the installation, use, and maintenance of septic systems.
Soak Up The Rain
There are a variety of ways you can reduce the amount of stormwater that runs off of your property.
Permeable pavement: Traditional paving materials like concrete and asphalt create impervious surface because they don’t allow water to soak into the ground. Permeable pavement systems allow rain and snowmelt to soak through. To learn more about how permeable pavement works, check out this video to see how it is used at Yellowstone National Park.
Rain barrels: Rain barrels are useful for collecting the water that runs off of your roof and into your gutters. The rainwater that these barrels collect can be stored and used to maintain your lawn and garden. You can buy a pre-made rain barrel or you can turn it into a DIY project. Watch this video from This Old House to find out how to make your own rain barrel. The Braintree Stormwater Division also hosts a rain barrel program that offers rain barrels to Braintree residents at a discounted price - click here for program details.
Rain gardens: Rain gardens provide natural places for rainwater to collect and soak into the ground. Rainwater from impervious surfaces can be diverted into the rain garden to decrease the amount of runoff on your property. If you are interested in building a rain garden on your property, please contact the Braintree Stormwater Division at 781-794-8930 for more information.
Chlorine is great for killing harmful bacteria in pools, but it’s not so great for our waterways. When chlorinated water is discharged into a storm drain, it produces by-products that are toxic and carcinogenic to fish and other wildlife. Be sure to adhere to the following best practices when draining your pool or hot tub:
Allow chlorine levels in your pool to diminish before you drain your pool.
Ensure that the pH of your pool water is between 6.5 and 8.5, which is the normal pH range of surface and ground waters.
If your pool contains algae, collect the algae and flush it down the toilet. It is crucial to keep algae out of our waterways because it takes oxygen away from other organisms, like fish, that need oxygen to survive.
Direct pool water and backwash over grassy or landscaped areas to help filter discharge before it reaches a storm drain. Drain pool water where it will not flow directly into a street, gutter, or someone else’s property.