Preventing pollution from entering waterways is much more affordable than cleaning polluted water. There are many different ways to keep pollutants out of runoff and to slow down high volumes of runoff by using “best management practices,” or BMPs. Educating residents about how to prevent pollution from entering waterways is one BMP. Another BMP is having laws in place to stop littering, enforce cleaning up after pets, and prohibit dumping oil or other substances into storm inlets. There are also laws that require people and businesses involved in earth disturbing activities –like construction and agriculture — to take steps to prevent erosion which is another way to prevent stormwater pollution.
Aside from education and law making, some BMPs can be constructed on property in order to help manage runoff and prevent pollutants from entering waterways. Detention ponds are one example of a BMP that is constructed to temporarily hold water so that it seeps into the ground slowly- these ponds fill up quickly after a rainstorm and allow solids like sediment and litter to settle at the pond bottom rather than be washed into storm inlets. Other examples of constructed BMPs are green roofs, storm drain grates, filter strips, rain gardens, and permeable pavement.