Did you know that the month of August is National Water Quality Month? Yeah, we knew there was a reason we loved this month so much. It’s a perfect time to look at how we can improve local water quality by following a few simple tips!

How are water quality and stormwater related? Here’s how: when stormwater is cleaner then the environment benefits because less pollution is spread through our waterways. Storm drains in L.A. eventually drain into the ocean, so cleaner runoff means cleaner beaches for nature and people alike!

Below are 5 tips that will get you thinking a bit more about water quality (with an emphasis on stormwater!).

1) Lawn clippings don’t belong in the streets! That’s right, after you mow or rake leaves, do not blow or sweep this debris into the road where it will eventually flow into the storm drain. Instead, leave the clippings on your lawn or compost them!

2) Ditch those lawn chemicals! Yep, chemicals are not good for the environment. The less you use, the less that ends up washing into the stormwater system. When possible, use eco-friendly alternatives to pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides.

3) Tear out that concrete driveway! Permeable surfaces, which concrete is not, allow water to trickle into the ground rather than being washed into the street where it ends up draining into the ocean. And the less water in the street means less water in the storm drains!

4) Take out that lawn! Grass requires watering. The more we water our yards to keep them green the more water ends up running into the street. Native plants are drought resistant and therefore do not require extra water. Save a little money and go green by removing your lawn.

5) Wash your car at a car wash! Washing your vehicle in your driveway might be fun, but did you know that soap from car washing can flow directly into the street causing stormwater pollution? Take your vehicle to a car wash where the water is actually captured and recycled; it does not enter the storm drain system. If you are hosting a car wash fundraising event, here’s some tips on how to do it right.

Can you think of a few other ways to celebrate National Water Quality Month? We would love to hear your ideas in the comment section below.

*Photo courtesy of USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service