Care For Your Cars & Lawns

Yard Work, Lawn Mower, Oil Change, and Car Wash

If you own a home or vehicle, you may invest time and money in maintaining that lawn or vehicle year after year. However, the ways in which you maintain them can greatly affect the cleanliness and health of our rivers and creeks.  Review the following sets of tips for maintaining your vehicles and lawns while still reducing and preventing pollutants from entering our storm drains when it rains. 

What You Put On Your Lawn - Lawn Care Pollutants

The chemicals in the fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides we spray on our lawns to rid them of weeds and pesky insects can pollute our waterways if we overuse them or dump them carelessly into the street. Storm water runoff can carry these chemicals down storm drains and into our rivers and creeks, possibly harming the fish and aquatic plants which live there.

Grass or leaves clippings can also end up in our waterways if we sweep, blow or dump the clippings out into the street instead of disposing of them properly or reusing them.

River-Friendly Tips: Buying, Using, Storing & Disposing Of Lawn Care Products

Use the following tips when working on your lawns in order to help prevent pollutants entering our rivers and creeks:

  1. Purchase lawn products that are friendlier to the environment (look for non-toxic, organic, or green-friendly on the product labels).
  2. Purchase lawn products only in the amount you need so that you can use them up faster and reduce storage.
  3. Use lawn products according to manufacturer directions on the label and avoid using too much.
  4. Never use lawn products before a rainstorm or windy day. You should also wait a day or two after a rainstorm for the excess rainwater to completely drain from your lawns before using a lawn product again.
  5. Consider purchasing organic fertilizers and using organic pest control methods.
  6. Consider making homemade compost using yard waste. Mixing compost with soil can reduce the need for chemical fertilizer.
  7. When trimming your grass only mow the top 1/3 and leave the clippings on your lawn. This may reduce the need for watering and fertilizing.
  8. Keep grass and leaf clippings off the streets and away from storm drains. Bag and dispose of all unused grass and leaf clippings properly.
  9. Cover piles of dirt, soil and mulch used for landscaping projects to prevent them from blowing or washing off your lawn and into storm drains.
  10. City of San Antonio Solid Waste customers and residents should dispose of household hazardous waste products at the City of San Antonio HHW Drop-Off Center - SWMD - HHW Waste Disposal

Free Online Resources For You

Keep Your Lawn Green And Your River Clean! (PDF)

For more information on lawn care tips and pesticide use, visit the following informational webpages presented by San Antonio Water System:

SAWS – Green Gardens Tips
SAWS – Pesticide Use Tips

From Your Driveway to Your River Water - Vehicle Pollutants

When we work on our automobiles at home, excess fluids that leak onto our driveways can drain into our streets and storm drains. This can poison fish, plants and wildlife when they enter our rivers and creeks. Did you know that used oil from just one oil change can pollute up to one million gallons of freshwater?

The detergents used when washing our vehicles at home and the grime that is removed can also flow into our storm drains and pollute our waterways. 

River-Friendly Tips: Clean Home Vehicle Maintenance

Use the tips below when working on or washing your vehicles to help prevent waterway pollution:

  1. Inspect and maintain your vehicles regularly to reduce the chance of hidden leaks on driveways; if a leak is found, fix it as soon as possible.
  2. When changing oil at home, drain used motor oil into a reusable and re-sealable container.
  3. Use a drip pan under your vehicle if it has a leak or if you are doing engine work.
  4. Avoid mixing used motor oil with other automotive fluids.
  5. If motor oil or fluid leaks onto your driveway, apply sawdust, sand or cat litter over the leak spot area to absorb the fluid. You can then sweep up the material for proper disposal. Avoid hosing the leaked fluid off your driveway into the street, which will enter storm drains nearby.
  6. If you wash your vehicle at home, wash it on your lawn instead of your driveway where the grass can catch and absorb the excess soap and water runoff. Avoid hosing any soapy runoff into the street.
  7. Consider using a paid car wash facility when you want to wash your vehicle. These car washes have special drains installed which are designed to catch and recycle runoff.
  8. City of San Antonio Solid Waste customers should dispose of used car maintenance products (i.e., motor oil/oil filters, automotive fluids, car batteries, tires) at the City of San Antonio HHW Drop-Off Center - City of San Antonio SWMD - Household Hazardous Waste Disposal

Free Online Resources For You

Keep Soaps & Leaks Out of Our Rivers & Creeks! (PDF)

For more information on car care tips, click on the following San Antonio Water System featured link below:

SAWS – Car Care Tips

About Remember the River

Remember the River is a community campaign focused on nonpoint source pollution prevention outreach and education. The campaign is led by the City of San Antonio.

All campaign education and outreach efforts are conducted in compliance with educational/outreach guidelines established under a TPDES Phase I Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) discharge permit regulated by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

Contact Us

Darlene Dorsey 210.207.1011

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Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 839966
San Antonio, TX 78283-3966