Stormwater Education

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Did you know that you live in a watershed?

Yes, that's right. We all live in a watershed. What's a watershed? It's a fancy word describing an area of land that drains or 'sheds' its water to a river or lake from higher to lower elevations.

The area you are in is part of a watershed and the water is flowing somewhere. Every raindrop from a storm falls into a watershed. Where does the stormwater from your yard go? It flows to the nearest lake, river or stream, and eventually to the ocean. Everyone lives in a watershed (except the astronauts in the Space Station)! How about the stormwater from your school, where does it go? Is it in the same watershed as your yard? All of the water in Abilene ultimately ends up in Lake Fort Phantom where you swim and play.

The water in Abilene's creeks and lakes needs your help. Yes, your help. Here are a few ways you can help keep Abilene's water clean:

  • StormwaterBillboards01-OnlyRain 


    Stormwater Pollution Prevention 

    Automotive Care

    Inspect and maintain your car regularly to prevent fluid leaks. Take motor oil, antifreeze, etc... to an automotive center with a recycling program or the City's Environmental Recycling Center. For oil spills use a product such as cat litter to absorb the oil, then sweep up the litter and place it in your trash. Never hose down spills into the gutter, curb, or street as streets are considered a water conveyance for the City's drainage! Remember when it rains, these chemicals can turn into stormwater pollution!
    Washing your car at home not only uses more gallons of water than a commercial car wash, but it also introduces soap, oil, and engine grime to the environment. The dirty water and soap washes off your car, flows down your driveway, down the street, into a curb inlet, and ends up in a nearby creek. Detergents in our creeks and ponds pose a very real threat to our fish. Use a commercial car wash instead, it doesn't matter if it's automated or self serve, the wastewater generated at these facilities is sent to the wastewater treatment plant where it is thoroughly cleaned before being returned to the City's water source. However, if you must wash your car at home, these tips will help minimize pollution:

    • Try using just water and a rag,
    • Use only minimal amounts of soap,
    • Use a spray release nozzle for your hose to reduce water use and runoff into the street, or
    • Wash your car on the lawn - your yard acts as a sponge and prevents soapy water from flowing down the curb.

    Clean Water Fact Sheet - Automotive Repair
     - Antifreeze



    Household Hazardous Waste

    Never pour paint, used oil, or other chemicals into the street or down a storm drain! Try to avoid purchasing oil-based paint; unused oil-based paint, thinner, varnishes, and solvents are hazardous wastes. They must be taken to a hazardous waste collection event or the City's Environmental Recycling Center. Save and reuse paint thinner, brush cleaners, and other household hazardous chemicals whenever possible or share them with family or neighbors. Oil and water-based paint cans and other hazardous chemical containers can be put in the garbage once they are empty and dry.

    Clean Water Fact Sheet - Hazardous Waste


    Pesticides, Herbicides, & Fertilizers      

    Pesticides and fertilizers pollute our neighborhood, creeks, and lakes when they’re applied incorrectly, disposed of improperly, or run off into curbs and storm drains during heavy rains or over-watering.
    • Always use products in accordance with the instructions on the label; using more than recommended won’t work any faster.
    • Do not apply lawn or garden products when rain is forecasted.
    • Use pesticides and herbicides that relate only to the bug or problem you’re trying to correct.
    • If you do not use up your pesticides, fertilizers, etc. give them to a friend who needs them or you can also take them to the City's Environmental Recycling Center.
    • Visit the City's Xeriscape section to learn more about West Texas landscaping.  


    Animal Waste

    Pet waste left on the ground will wash into creeks and lakes the next time it rains, contributing harmful bacteria, parasites and viruses to our waterways. Shovel up animal wastes, seal in bags and throw away in a garbage can or flush down the toilet.
    Pet waste can be a major source of bacteria and excess nutrients in local waters.
    • When walking your pet, remember to pick up the waste and dispose of it properly
    • Flushing pet waste is the best disposal method.
    • Leaving pet waste on the ground increases public health risks by allowing harmful bacteria and nutrients to wash into the storm drain and eventually into local waterbodies.
    Education is essential to changing people's behavior. Signs and markers near storm drains warn residents that pollutants entering the drains will be carried untreated into a local waterbody.

    Litter Control 

    Litter is a significant source of storm water pollution. Litter and debris cause storm drain blockages that lead to flooding, impair water quality as well as the aesthetic and recreational value of waters, and may also be a hazard to wildlife. Litter washes down the street during a rain shower, goes into the storm drain system, and ends up in our neighborhood creeks and lakes. And it stays there a long time. Cigarette butts can take 25 years to break down because of the plastic filters; plastic six-pack rings can take 450 years to break down; and a glass bottle will take 1,000 years.

    Keep a litter bag in your car, and make sure that cargo in the bed of your pickup is secured! Never sweep or blow leaves or lawn clippings into a storm drain inlet. Sweep them up and put them in your compost pile or bag them for yard waste collection. Remember to reduce, reuse and recycle all materials whenever possible.

    Put Litter In Its Place - A Trash Can

    Bag It Don't Blow It

  • Have fun and you can learn more about how you can help prevent pollution in storm water!

    Check out these cool links:

    EPA - Learning and Teaching about the Environment*

    TxDOT - Tex and Dot's water quality coloring and activity book

  • Adopt-A-Street & Adopt-A-Creek 

    For information, contact Paige Schneider at

    Are you interested in making Abilene clean and proud? Adopt-A-Street or Adopt-A-Creek is a great way for groups, businesses or individuals to designate an area they pledge to keep clean. Your area can be a street, a creek, a neighborhood, a park, etc.


    Here is how it works:

    • Pick a public location close to your home, office, or meeting place, or ask KAB to help you pick a spot.
    • A sign with your group name will be placed in your area.
    • Designate a leader, someone who is responsible for announcing cleanup dates, organizing volunteers, and getting the Adopt-a-Street or Adopt-A-Creek supplies from KAB. Supplies include trash bags and Grab-Its!
    • Get together to clean your area! You can remove litter and debris, plant trees and flowers, paint, etc.


    Are you Interested?

    Please complete the following forms and return the originals:

    Step 1
    Step 2 Agreement


    Email, mail or drop off forms to:

    Stormwater Services Division

    Attn: Keep Abilene Beautiful 
    555 Walnut St. Suite 207
    Abilene, TX 79601 


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