Pollution Sources

Stormwater refers to any water that falls to the ground and travels overland to local waterways. Stormwater can also travel to our waterways through storm drains. Because stormwater travels overland, it picks up pollutants and delivers them into surface water, affecting water quality.


Common Causes of Urban Water Pollution

Stormwater occurs with rain events that produce as little as one-tenth of an inch of rain. Litter, chemicals, sediment, lawn trimmings and pet waste most commonly end up in stormwater and storm drains, where it is transported directly to our waterways without treatment. Our daily actions can have a huge impact water quality.


Litter

Litter is everywhere and no one likes it. If not picked up, litter will make its way into our waterways, and eventually, the ocean. While plastic can break down in water, it doesn't disappear. Tiny bits of plastic can be mistaken for food by fish, birds and other animals. It fills up their stomachs and prevents them from eating nourishing food. As a result, they can become sick and die of starvation. 


You can help!

  • If you see litter, pick it up!
  • Make sure any trash placed outdoors is tied or secured in bags or cans with lids. Loose items easily fall out or blow away during trash collection, becoming litter.
  • Carry a bag in your car to collect litter when you're out and about.
  • Participate in our annual trash clean-up event, or join our Adopt-a-Spot Program and pledge to clean up a spot that is near and dear to you four times a year.

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Pet Waste


Pet waste is a nuisance; it can create serious health issues for both humans & pets and is a major water pollutant in our area. Two of McKinney’s creeks, Wilson Creek and East Fork Trinity River, are listed on the Texas 303(d) list as impaired for bacteria. Recent estimates put the number of dogs in McKinney at about 53,000! Remember to #DootheRightThing, McKinney, and pick up after your pet.

 

You can help!

  • When you walk your dog, keep plastic bags attached to your pet’s leash so you will always have them handy.
  • Clean up pet waste in your yard at least once a week to keep your yard stink-free and our water healthy! 
  • Flush it! You can pick up poop with a pooper scooper or plastic bag and flush it down the toilet. Toilet water goes to a treatment plant, and the waste will be properly removed before the water is released into the environment. Don’t flush plastic bags though!
  • Toss it! Collect the waste in a plastic bag, tie the bag securely and toss it in a garbage can.
  • Bury it! Pet waste can be buried six inches below the surface and be allowed to decompose naturally.

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Yard Waste

Yard waste includes leaves, grass clippings and other organic items you trim from your yard. These materials can cause flooding if they clog storm drains, and if they enter creeks they can increase the nutrients in the water causing algal blooms which can be harmful to fish.


You can help!

  • When raking leaves or mowing the lawn, bag them, or, leave them on your lawn. Do not blow leaves or grass into the street, where they'll be carried to storm drain. 

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Chemicals

Excess use of lawn chemicals also contributes to unhealthy creeks and lakes. These chemicals can easily be flushed into the storm drain due to rain or overwatering. 


You can help!

  • Wait to apply if you know rain is coming.
  • Follow the label instructions carefully; do not over-apply chemicals.
  • Be careful to avoid getting chemicals on sidewalks, driveways and roadways.

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Find out how to dispose of yard waste in McKinney.


Sediment

Sediment is soil that's been washed away through erosion and it is one of the biggest threats to healthy creeks. It can clog storm drains, leading to flooding during heavy rains. When sediment occurs in creek bottoms, it reduces the amount of water a stream can carry which leads to flooding and further erosion. Sediment clouds water, making it difficult for aquatic plants to thrive in our waterways and harms fish by clogging their gills and reducing their ability to find food.


You can help!

  • Keep your soil in its place by making sure all areas of your yard are vegetated, or mulched, to prevent erosion.

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For more information about what you can do to protect our local waterways, visit www.McKinneyTexas.org/Green.