If you live near a storm drain, then you live on waterfront property! Anything that enters a storm drain, from water runoff to grass clippings to pet waste, goes directly to the local lake, creek or wetland—not a wastewater treatment facility. And, pet waste, grass clippings, lawn fertilizer and tree leaves and seeds are all sources of phosphorus, the plant nutrient that turns lakes, creeks and wetlands green with algae.

Here’s how you can help keep bad stuff out of the storm drain, and keep lakes, creeks and wetlands clean.

Phosphorus attaches to soil, so prevent erosion and keep soil from washing into the street.

Remove leaves from the street. Rake leaves, seeds, and grass clippings out of the street and gutter. Compost on site or bag for collection by your garbage hauler (if they offer that service).

Fertilize your lawn, not lakes, creeks or wetlands. The majority of Minnetonka’s lawns are naturally high in phosphorus and will remain healthy without adding more, so choose a zero-phosphorus fertilizer. Sweep spilled fertilizer off paved surfaces. And remember, compost and manure (pet waste) contain phosphorus too.

Keep the pavement clean. Sweep up grass clippings and fertilizer from driveways, sidewalks and streets.

Be a responsible pet owner and scoop the poop. Pet waste contains phosphorus as well as harmful bacteria.

Reduce your salt use in winter.