Easy Things We Can Do Every Day to Protect Our Water
In Montclair, everything that goes into the many storm drains along our curbs flows untreated into our local streams, such as Toney's Brook, Nishuane Brook, Yantecaw Brook and Pearl Brook. Our waterways then flow either into the Second River or Third River, tributaries of the Passaic River which empties into Newark Bay and onward to the Atlantic Ocean.
Pollution on streets, parking lots and our lawns is washed by rain into the storm drains. Pesticides, fertilizers, yard clippings and dog waste from our yards, plus oil, litter and detergents from our streets and driveways: you name it and it ends up in our water.
Stormwater pollution is one of New Jersey's greatest threats to clean and plentiful water, and that's why we're doing something about it.
The Township of Montclair is required by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to provide all residents with the following information. Of course, as an environmentally-conscious community we are also determined to protect our watershed.
By sharing the responsibility and making small, easy changes in our daily lives, we can keep common pollutants out of stormwater. It all adds up to cleaner water, and it saves the high cost of cleaning up once it's dirty.
As part of New Jersey's initiative to keep our water clean and plentiful and to meet federal requirements, the Township of Montclair – along with other municipalities and public agencies - has adopted ordinances and other rules prohibiting various activities that contribute to stormwater pollution. Breaking these rules will result in fines or other penalties.
As a Montclair resident, it is important to know these easy things you can do every day to protect our water.
Limit your use of fertilizers and pesticides
- • Don't count on fertilizer companies or landscapers for advice on the need for fertilizers, or the frequency and best season for application. Rutgers Cooperative Extension (www.rce.rutgers.edu; under "Extension" click on "Lawn and Garden") and other turf specialists will offer the best advice, including the use of a soil test to see if you even need a fertilizer.
- • Consider less toxic organic fertilizers and alternatives for pesticides, and don't apply either if heavy rain is predicted.
- • Shrink your lawn and grow your garden. Maintain a small lawn and keep the rest of your yard as an attractive planted area, with easy-to-cultivate native plants and trees that require little or no fertilizer or pesticides and less watering, and/or a simple vegetable garden.
- • If you must use fertilizers and pesticides, carefully follow the instructions on the label on how to correctly apply them. Don't let them drift onto driveways, sidewalks or streets. Make sure you properly store or discard any unused portions.
Properly use and dispose of hazardous products
- • Hazardous products include some household or commercial cleaning products, lawn and garden care products, automotive fluids and paints. A full explanation and definitions of Household Hazardous Waste can be found on the Montclair website Environmental Affairs How to Dispose of Household Hazardous Waste page.
- • Never pour any hazardous products, or anything else, down a storm drain. Everything goes straight into our streams. "The Drain is Just for Rain."
- • If you have any hazardous products in your home or workplace, make sure you store and then dispose of them properly. Read the label for guidance.
- • Use natural or less toxic alternatives whenever possible.
- • Recycle used motor oil. In Montclair, use Clar-Pine Service Center & Gulf Station (973) 744-9839, or Pines Auto Service (973) 744-9708…open hours only!
Keep pollution out of our storm drains
- • Montclair is marking certain storm drain inlets with messages reminding people that storm drains connect directly to our local waterways.
- • Residents interested in participating in community stream clean-ups or neighborhood storm drain stenciling projects can contact the Office of Environmental Affairs (contact information above.)
Clean up after your pet
- • Montclair has enacted and is enforcing local pet-waste regulations, which require pet owners or their keepers to pick-up and properly dispose of pet waste by any sanitary means approved by the Township Health Department.
- • Make sure you know the ordinance (#82-18) and comply with it. Remember to:
- • Use newspaper, bags, or pooper-scoopers to pick up wastes.
- • Return wastes to your own property, not to public receptacles.
- • Dispose of the wrapped pet waste in the trash or unwrapped in a toilet.
- • Never discard pet waste in a storm drain.
Don't feed wildlife
- • Do not feed wildlife, such as ducks and geese, in public areas. They will nest there, and their feces not only covers parks and playing fields but also becomes a serious water contaminant. Feeding wild animals actually harms them because they become dependent upon humans for food and cannot survive when the supply stops. Feeding birds at your home on a daily, continuous basis - especially in winter - is the only exception.
- • Montclair recently enacted and is enforcing a new ordinance (# 82-37) that prohibits wildlife feeding in public areas.
- • Place litter in trash receptacles.
- • Recycle. Recycle. Recycle.
- • Participate in community clean-ups.
Dispose of yard waste properly
- • Leaves and grass clippings must be bagged in paper yard waste bags for curbside collection. Yard waste of any kind may not be left in the street.
- • Montclair has specific yard waste collection rules, available in the Montclair website "Community Services - Refuse and Recycling" section. Learn these rules and follow them.
- • The easiest way to dispose of grass clippings is by "grasscycling", leaving the clippings on the lawn. A blade of grass is 85% water and 10% nitrogen. In fact, you can reduce your fertilizing requirements by 50% - while conserving water - with this more modern, and popular, method of mulch-mowing your lawn.
- • Leaves and grass clippings are also the basic ingredients for successful home composting. Montclair encourages composting leaves and grass by providing information and by selling backyard compost bins to residents at cost. For information contact the Office of Environmental Affairs at (973) 509-5721.
Or contact: New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
Division of Water Quality
Bureau of Nonpoint Pollution Control
Municipal Stormwater Regulation Program
Thank you to the N.J. Municipal Stormwater Regulation Program for this information.