Stormwater Education

What is Stormwater?

Stormwater is a big deal! As communities become increasingly developed with more roads, parking lots, retail, entertainment, cars and homes there is an increase in impervious (not allowing liquid to pass through) surfaces. More impervious surfaces directly impacts our water and how it moves above and below ground during storms. These impervious surfaces impact the quality of our stormwater and the conditions of our creeks and lakes.

Stormwater is the nation’s #1 source of water pollution and is rapidly growing as a national environmental issue. It is important for all of us to take particular care in our daily activities to protect our waterways. Why? Clean Water = Healthy Life

Common Pollutants

Motor oil, sediment, yard waste/leaves, biodegradable materials, and paint are common pollutants that should never be put down our storm drains. These materials travel directly into our creeks and lakes UNTREATED, polluting water and natural habitats.

We need your help to Save Our Waterways! Stormwater pollution cannot be ignored. It can be prevented with all of us working together. You can protect the water quality. Learn the stormwater basics and get involved. Our Water, Our Health, Our Responsibility.  


A watershed is simply an area of land that drains into a particular body of water. The rainwater that falls on the land flows downhill and slopes and drains into a creek or river. Many watersheds make up a much larger "river basin" or "Lake Basin". For example, most of Taylor County is located within the Cedar, Elm, Little Elm, Catclaw and Lytle Creek watershed which is part of the larger Brazos River Basin. You live in a watershed. The neighborhood you live in is part of a watershed. Every raindrop from a storm falls into our watershed. Where does the stormwater from your yard go? It flows to the nearest creek, lake, river or stream, and eventually to the ocean.

Abilene Watershed Map

Take Action!

The things you do every day have an impact on your water quality. Small changes to your routine protects the water quality for all of us.  Here are some ways you can be a part of protecting water quality:

It Happens: be #1 at picking up #2Keep Our Creeks Clean: Clean up After Your Dog!

Think picking up dog poop is unpleasant? Try drinking it. Pet waste washes into our storm drains and pollutes our creeks and lakes. Dog poop is a major contributor to stormwater pollution. Rain and melting snow/ice flows across our yards, dog parks and trails on its way to creeks via our storm drains. Dog poop contains bacteria and is high in nitrogen and phosphorus, which are nutrients that negatively affect our waters. 

The Impact

Pets and wildlife are major sources of water contamination because their waste contains harmful bacteria and parasites. Dog feces can contain fecal coliform bacteria, which can spread diseases like Salmonella, Giardia, and Campylobacter, causing serious illness in humans.

You Can Make A Difference

Approximately 29,046 dogs live in Abilene. That many dogs creates a lot of waste!

Be a responsible pet owner. Be prepared. Carry bags with you to pick up pet waste. We know, It Happens! Just use one of your bags to scoop it, bag it and trash it.  Please put those bags in an available trash bin or wait to throw it away when you get home. Don’t forget to scoop the poop in your own yard. (Especially before it rains)

Keep Your Trails Clean and Safe

Picking up dog waste protects water quality, it also keeps our local trails clean and safe for everyone to enjoy.

*Source: 2017-2018 U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics

Get Involved

Here in Abilene, we take great pride in keeping our city parks, creeks, lakes, streets and neighborhoods clean. Do your part in keeping our precious water clean. The City of Abilene partners with the local non-profit, Keep Abilene Beautiful to host area-wide clean up events for neighborhoods, schools, and at our local parks and lakes. Groups can adopt a street or creek to clean. We are always working to plan new and exciting ways for you to be involved in watershed protection. Get in touch with Keep Abilene Beautiful or visit their website to find out about upcoming events and get involved with making Abilene the best place to live, work, play and visit.

Citizens of Abilene can also take advantage of the Citizens Convenience Station, the Environmental Recycling Center, Neighborhood Recycling Centers, and the Abilene Brush Center to dispose of bulky items, recycle household hazardous materials and drop off large limbs, branches, and leaves. Every little bit helps. Keeping those items out of the landfill and out of our waterways is the best way to reuse and recycle items that would normally be considered pollutants if left in the roadway, illegally dumped in our parks and lakes.  All of us can do our part.

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