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Stormwater Education

The Borough of New Brighton has established a stormwater education campaign to educate residents and merchants about stormwater topics such as what stormwater is, how it becomes polluted, and how individuals can help protect stormwater.

As stormwater flows over driveways, lawns, and sidewalks, it picks up debris, chemicals, dirt, and other pollutants. Stormwater can flow into a storm sewer system or directly to a lake, stream, river, wetland, or coastal water. Anything that enters a storm sewer system is discharged untreated into the waterbodies we use for swimming, fishing, and providing drinking water.  Polluted runoff is the nation’s greatest threat to clean water.


By practicing healthy household habits, homeowners can keep common pollutants like pesticides, pet waste, grass clippings, and automotive fluids off the ground and out of stormwater. Adopt these healthy household habits and help protect lakes, streams, rivers, wetlands, and coastal waters. Remember to share the habits with your neighbors!  


Healthy Household Habits for Clean Water


Vehicle and Garage

  • Use a commercial car wash or wash your car on a lawn or other unpaved surface to minimize the amount of dirty, soapy water flowing into the storm drain and eventually into your local waterbody.

  • Check your car, boat, motorcycle, and other machinery and equipment for leaks and spills. Make repairs as soon as possible. Clean up spilled fluids with an absorbent material like kitty litter or sand, and don’t rinse the spills into a nearby storm drain. Remember to properly dispose of the absorbent material.

  • Recycle used oil and other automotive fluids at participating service stations. Don’t dump these chemicals down the storm drain or dispose of them in your trash.


Lawn and Garden

  • Use pesticides and fertilizers sparingly. When use is necessary, use these chemicals in the recommended amounts. Avoid application if the forecast calls for rain; otherwise, chemicals will be washed into your local stream.  To help promote this activity, New Brighton Borough has eliminated the use of all herbicides by the Public Work Department.

  • Select native plants and grasses that are drought resistant.  Native plants require less water, fertilizer, and pesticides.

  • Sweep up yard debris, rather than hosing down areas. Compost or recycle yard waste when possible.

  • Don’t overwater your lawn. Water during the cool times of the day, and don’t let water run off into the storm drain.

  • Cover piles of dirt and mulch being used in landscaping projects to prevent these pollutants from blowing or washing off your yard and into local waterbodies. Vegetate bare spots in your yard to prevent soil erosion.


Home Repair and Improvement

  • Before beginning an outdoor project, locate the nearest storm drains and protect them from debris and other materials.

  • Sweep up and properly dispose of construction debris such as concrete and mortar.

  • Use hazardous substances like paints, solvents, and cleaners in the smallest amounts possible, and follow the directions on the label. Clean up spills immediately, and dispose of the waste safely. Store substances properly to avoid leaks and spills.

  • Purchase and use nontoxic, biodegradable, recycled, and recyclable products whenever possible.

  • Clean paint brushes in a sink, not outdoors. Filter and reuse paint thinner when using oil-based paints.  Properly dispose of excess paints through a household hazardous waste collection program, or donate unused paint to local organizations.

  • Reduce the amount of paved area and increase the amount of vegetated area in your yard. Use native plants in your landscaping to reduce the need for watering during dry periods. Consider directing downspouts away from paved surfaces onto lawns and other measures to increase infiltration and reduce polluted runoff.


Pet Care

  • When walking your pet, remember to pick up the waste and dispose of it properly. Flushing pet waste is the best disposal method. Leaving pet waste on the ground increases public health risks by allowing harmful bacteria and nutrients to wash into the storm drain and eventually into local waterbodies.


Swimming Pool and Spa

  • Drain your swimming pool only when a test kit does not detect chlorine levels.

  • Whenever possible, drain your pool or spa into the sanitary sewer system.

  • Properly store pool and spa chemicals to prevent leaks and spills, preferably in a covered area to avoid exposure to stormwater.


New Brighton Borough also promotes and encourages the use of low impact development (LID) for both residential and commercial uses. Low impact development incorporates site design approaches and small-scale stormwater management practices that promote the use of natural systems for infiltration, evapotranspiration, and reuse of rainwater.  LID can be applied to new development, urban retrofits, and revitalization projects.  LID utilizes design techniques that infiltrate, filter, evaporate, and store runoff close to its source. Rather than rely on costly large-scale conveyance and treatment systems, LID addresses stormwater through a variety of small, cost-effective landscape features located on-site.  Examples of low impact development include bioretention, green roofs, permeable pavers, rain barrel and cisterns, soil amendments, and tree box filters.

Additionally, as part of the Borough’s stormwater education initiative, the New Brighton Public Works Department has been installing markers on the Borough’s stormwater drains.  To help prevent illegal dumping in storm drains, markers are being placed on the drains as a visual reminder that the storm drains run directly to our creeks and rivers. By raising public awareness of urban runoff and pollution, storm drain marking programs are intended to discourage practices that generate stormwater pollutants, such as yard waste, fertilizer, motor oil, and other contaminants should never be placed into a stormwater drain.

This project has been funded by the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania Citizen Education Fund through a Section 319 federal Clean Water Act grant from the PA Department of Environmental Protection, administered by the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Another stormwater pollution reduction campaign is the partnership of the Borough and School District in community cleanup days.  Several times per year, students from the New Brighton Area School District visit the New Brighton Municipal Building and get to meet with the administrative staff to discuss the effects that litter and refuse have on the stormwater system and local waterways.  Students then visit various neighborhoods and remove numerous bags for litter from the streets.

For additional information on stormwater management and best management practices, please visit the website of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection or the Environmental Protection Agency.


To report a stormwater violation of illicit discharges, illegal dumping, or outfall pollution, please call (724) 846-1870.  All complaints will remain anonymous.

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