Do's & Don'ts

Ways You Can Help

The city encourages residents and neighborhoods to become actively involved in efforts to clean up stormwater runoff. There are many things you can do to help save our waters and minimize the pollution that enters our storm drains.


  • Start a compost pile and invest in a mulching blade for your lawn mower.
  • Use fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides responsibly and as needed, preferably in dry weather. Use natural organic fertilizers as much as possible.
  • Dispose of motor oil and other household hazardous wastes at designated locations.
  • Wash your car on the lawn and let the nutrient rich soapy water fertilize your grass at the same time.
  • Clean up after your pets to avoid polluting the waterways.
  • Leave grass clippings on your yard when you mow.
  • If you do not have a mulching mower, bag your leaves, grass clippings, and other yard debris and leave the bags at curbside for pickup by city sanitation.
  • Take care not to blow leaves and grass into the street.
  • Use fertilizers and pesticides sparingly, and not near the water or street.
  • Plant less grass and leave more natural areas with straw or mulch.
  • Use native Florida plants - less maintenance and less water requirements.
  • Create and use a compost pile.
  • Use chemical free alternatives for household cleaning.
  • Plant shrubs, tress, or ground cover at the street to filter runoff.
  • Direct your sprinklers away from driveways and sidewalks.
  • Recycle used motor oil.
  • Take household hazardous waste to the land fill on amnesty days.


  • Blow or place leaves and clippings into the street. Grass and leaves entering bayous and bays help decrease the amount of oxygen and can lead to algae growth and fish kills.
  • Overuse lawn chemicals. Not only can herbicides and pesticides be toxic to wildlife, they can also lead to excessive algae growth.
  • Pour motor oil, chemicals, or other household materials into the streets or drains. These can be toxic to wildlife and further damage water quality.
  • Wash your car in the driveway or street. The wash water will add excess nutrients to our waterways.
  • Leave anything in the street - it will wash into the storm drains.
  • Put anything in a storm drain. Only rain goes in the drain.

These tips provided by the Bayou Texar Foundation, the City of Pensacola, and the West Florida Regional Planning Council.