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Stormwater Education


Stormwater: why it matters

When it rains, it drains. Stormwater runoff in Colorado Springs isn’t treated and flows directly into our local waterways along with any other pollutants it collects along the way. This dirty water can harm people, animals and plants. 

Whether we mean to or not, we all pollute water. Everyday activities such as driving  the car or walking the dog can add up to big problems for our waterways. Cleaning up dirty water and repairing blowouts from rain events is expensive. If we all do our part to protect water quality, we all win. We’ll keep our creeks and rivers clean for recreation and enjoyment both today and for future generations. 

Remember, we all live downstream from someone else. We don’t want them sending their pollutants and dirty water to us. We also live upstream from someone else and we have a responsibility not to send our waste downstream.

There are easy things all of us can do to help

Pet Waste

Scoop The Poop PSA from City of Colorado Springs on Vimeo.

Pet waste is a huge problem in our city. Not only is it unlawful to leave your pet’s waste in our city parks, the poop is a nuisance and can carry viruses and bacteria that are harmful to humans and animals. In addition to the risk of diseases, the organic matter and nutrients in pet waste make the water in our creeks and streams dirty. 

Here are four simple ways you can make a difference!

  • Always pick up your pet’s waste, whether on the trail or at home.
  • Never dispose of pet waste in a storm or curbside drain.
  • Don’t use pet waste as fertilizer. Pet waste is very acidic due to our pet’s high protein diets.
  • Never add pet waste to a compost pile. The pile will not get hot enough to kill the disease causing organisms. 

Here's more information from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Car Washing

Outdoor car washing can result in high amounts of nutrients, dirt, metals and detergents in our waterways. That’s because the water from your driveway flows into the street, through the stormwater system and into area creeks and streams. 

Did you know?

  • Even small concentrations of pollutants like detergents can kill fish and their eggs. Other animals suffer as well.  
  • Outdoor car washing also sends dirt, grease, oil, automobile fluids, heavy metals, rust, rubber, and trace amounts of benzene and chromium into creeks, streams and waterways.
  • This is the same water that we drink, swim in and the same water that cultivates our food downstream. 
  • The water used in commercial car washes is treated before it enters waterways. They also use an average of 60% less water than car washing at home.

If you do wash your car at home, here are three simple things you can do to help keep waterways clean

  • Wash your vehicle on gravel, grass or other permeable surface.
  • Use plain water with biodegradable soaps.
  • Use a trigger nozzle or a bucket to conserve water.

Lawn Care

Caring for your lawn properly can both enhance its appearance and provide environmental benefits. Healthy grass is a feeding ground for birds, prevents soil erosion, filters contaminants and absorbs airborne pollutants.

Here's what you can do:

  • Use organic mulch and environmentally friendly pest control when possible.
  • Use only the required amount of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. Follow manufacturer’s directions. Excess chemicals are washed into our waterways. 
  • Compost or mulch yard waste. Grass clippings naturally fertilize your lawn.
  • Do not leave or sweep clippings or other yard waste into the street, on sidewalks, driveways, or parking lots especially around storm drains. Clogged drains cause flooding and maintenance issues.
  • Do not over water! Visit for tips on reducing water use.

How you can reduce fertilizer use

  • Choose plants that resist drought and enhance the growth of other plants.
  • Use a mulching mower and cut 1/3 the height of the grass. Clipped grass adds nutrients back into the soil. 
  • Cut your grass more often and only when dry.
  • Sharpen your lawn mowers blades regularly.
  • Compost yard waste and use it in flower beds and gardens.

How you can reduce pesticide use

  • Landscape for low maintenance and use native plants.
  • Attract birds or bats to your yard. They eat many insects including flies and mosquitos.
  • Use integrated pest management strategies to control pests. IPM utilizes biological principles, cultural practices and limited chemicals in pest control strategies. For more information visit

Fall Leaves

closeup of golden leaves on the groundDid you know grass clippings and leaves blown into the street during yard maintenance end up in storm drains and waterways? This causes problems in the city’s stormwater drainage system and can lead to flooding. It's also a violation of City Code and can result in fines.  

Instead of blowing leaves into the street try:

  • Composting: Researchers found that mulching leaves in the fall resulted in a greener lawn and up to 80% less dandelions the following springs. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers it a form of recycling that prevents filling our landfills, helps prevent pollution, enriches soils and reduces the production of methane gas.  
  • Mulching: Using a mower to shred leaves speeds up their decomposition. The shredded leaves make excellent mulch and can be used in flower or vegetable gardens as a natural fertilizer and soil conditioner. 

Snow Melt and Deicer

person applying de-icer to a drivewayDid you know that it only takes one teaspoon of salt to pollute five gallons of freshwater? Did you also know deicers have a minimum temperature at which they are effective? Using the wrong product will result in wasted product, wasted money, and potential pollution of local waterways.

Follow these tips to avoid salting our waterways.

  • Shovel as soon after the storm as possible. When heavy storms occur, consider removing snow halfway through the event so you are able to keep up with the snow.
  • Remove as much snow as possible before using a deicing product.
  • Remember that most deicing products work best at temperatures above 15 degrees ferenheight.
  • Avoid over application. It only takes 3/4 of a coffee mug to treat an average size parking space.
  • Sweep up any sand that was used as traction, and reuse it.


Check our calendar for upcoming events in your area!

Go to Calendar


Pikes Peak Children's Water Festival from City of Colorado Springs on Vimeo.

Pikes Peak Children’s Water Festival

 On Tuesday May 16th, 2017 a number of community partners are sponsoring the first ever Pikes Peak Children’s Water Festival. Approximately 530 4th graders from selected D-11 schools will attend the event.  The water festival is a hands-on educational experience tied to Colorado Department of Education Academic Standards where students experience the world of water through various lenses: water quality and stormwater, conservation, supply, careers, safety, and the arts. This fun-filled day will provide critical education to these future leaders about the importance and value of water in our community.

 The Pikes Peak Children’s Water Festival is the first of its kind in our region.  Other Colorado communities have held children’s water festivals for 20+ years with the first children’s water festival held in Greeley in 1991.  The recent important water issues in our community, such as the Intergovernmental Agreement prompted by stormwater challenges and the start-up of the Southern Delivery System, led to collaboration between the City of Colorado Springs and Colorado Springs Utilities to start a children’s water festival in our community.  We have forged partnerships with Pikes Peak Community College, School District 11, the Arkansas Basin Roundtable PEPO, Pikes Peak Library District, Colorado Parks & Wildlife, the Catamount Institute, El Paso County Parks and the Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District to make the water festival a reality.

We Can Make A Difference
Stormwater Activity Guide
Pet Waste Brochure
Car Washing Brochure
Oil & Other Automotive Fluids Brochure
Substitutes for Household Chemicals Vol. 1 Brochure
Substitutes for Household Chemicals Vol. 2 Brochure
Substitutes for Household Chemicals Vol. 3 Brochure
Substitutes for Household Chemicals Vol. 4 Brochure
Water Quality Guide for Lawn Care
Water Quality Guide for Lawn Care (Spanish Version)
Cigarette Butt Brochure