Natural Resources Outreach
Public Works Department
Monday – Friday
8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Benjamin Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” That is the case with water pollution. Keeping water clean is easier and less expensive than cleaning polluted water.
Where Water Pollution Comes From
Hard surfaces such as rooftops, driveways, and streets cause water to run off into storm drains in the street. The water that runs off these hard surfaces is called stormwater runoff. As the runoff flows across hard surfaces, it picks up pollutants from our homes, businesses, and streets. The runoff, with its associated pollutants, flows into underground pipes that carry it directly to Salem’s streams and the Willamette River. In Salem, stormwater does not go to a facility to be treated before being released.
How You Can Help
You can help keep Salem waterways clean with small changes such as the following:
- Hard surfaces such as pavement and rooftops can cause a typical city block to generate up to eight times more runoff than a woodland area of the same size.
- Sweep driveways, sidewalks and patios instead of hosing them off.
- Wash your car at a carwash that recycles their water.
- Fix car leaks quickly.
- Replant bare slopes and areas with native species.
- Clean up after your pets.
- Properly dispose of hazardous household wastes.
- Create a rain garden by directing downspouts into the garden.
- Replace unneeded pavement on your property with native plants.
- Use grave or stepping stones for paths.
- Use permeable paving stones instead of concrete or asphalt for driveways.