Reduce Stormwater Runoff
(See pages 1 & 24-27 in FY&N Handbook)

eeping rain and sprinkler water on our yards -- and out of storm drains -- reduces pollution of our bays, rivers and lakes.   Because water washes off our yards, it is important to reduce the amount of pollutants on our property.  The FY&N Handbook shows the benefits of having swales in your yard and using pervious surfaces for patios and walkways.

Making a Rain Barrel

Rain barrels are a great way to reduce stormwater runoff and to save water for a dry spell.  If you have gutters on your house, you may be able to collect 55 gallons of water during a 1/2-inch rain by connecting a downspout to a rain barrel or cistern.
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Tools:
Electric Drill
15/16" Drill  Bit
Sabre Saw
(you can use a hand drill & hand saw)
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Supplies:
Plastic Drum (55 gal. best)
3/4" Spigot (with male threads)
PVC Cement
Caulk
Directions:  Use only barrels that have carried food products.
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  1. Drill 15/16" hole at the first even part of barrel, about 6" to 8" from bottom
  2. Screw 3/4" spigot into hole (should have a snug fit).
  3. When spigot is about 3/4" of the way in, apply PVC cement to threads and finish tightening.
  4. If using a downspout, use a sabre saw to cut a hole in lid to fit spout.  After inserting down spout, caulk around the hole.
  1. Other option:  Take off the lid of a drum or trash can and cover the opening with a fine fiberglass screen.  Place the container where water flows off your roof.
  2. Elevate barrel on 2 to 3 cement blocks to allow easy access to the spigot. (Note: If you want more pressure, raise the barrel higher above the ground.)
  3. You may want to add a second spigot at the top of the barrel so you can direct the overflow through a hose into a specific part of your yard.
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Let only rain down the drain! While stormwater often travels through pipes under our roads just like sewage, it is not treated at a waste treatment plant.  Instead stormwater flows directly into ponds, lakes, rivers and bays.


Blue plastic drum painted to match the house.

Note:  Barrels come in many sizes, shapes and colors.
  1. Barrels either have sealed lids or lids that can be removed.  Barrels with sealed lids have two small round openings.  They have flat bottoms and are more stable.   Barrels with removable lids have larger openings making cleaning out debris easier.
  2. Drums made of white plastic seem to disintegrate more quickly in the sun.
  3. Food-grade drums are also available in 48 gallon and 42 gallon sizes.
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Florida Yard Actions
Where possible, direct down-spouts and gutters to drain onto the lawn, plant beds or containment areas where rain will soak into the soil rather than run off the yard. 
Credit:  1 inch

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Decrease soil erosion by planting groundcovers where lawn grass doesn't thrive, such as under trees or on steep slopes. 
Credit:  2 inches
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Use mulch, bricks, flagstone, gravel, or other porous surfaces for walkways, patios and drives. 
Credit: 1 inch
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Collect and store rain runoff from your roof in a rain barrel or cistern. 
Credit:  2 inches
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Create swales (low areas) or terracing to catch, hold and filter stormwater. 
Credit: 3 inches
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Pick up after pets.  This will help reduce bacterial and nutrient pollution entering storm drain systems.
Credit:  1 inch
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Clean up oil spills and leaks o the driveway.  Instead of using soap and water, spread cat litter over oil, sweep it up and then throw away in the trash.
Credit:  2 inches
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Sweep grass clippings, fertilizer and soil from driveways and streets back onto the lawn.  Remove trash from street gutters before it gets washed into storm drains. 
Credit:  2 inches

______Total Inches
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Table of Contents Introduction What is A Florida Yard? Right Plant, Right Place Water Efficiently Maximize Mulch
Recycle Yard Waste Fertilize Appropriately Manage Yard Pests Responsibly Reduce Stormwater Runoff Provide for Wildlife On the Waterfront
Return to Florida Yardstick Workbook Return to FYN Publications