Stormwater hits home!

Residents of the Las Vegas Valley play an important role in improving and maintaining stormwater quality in our community.

This page and the links below provide valuable information about how residents can help manage stormwater and reduce nonpoint source pollution. 




As stormwater flows over driveways, lawns, and sidewalks, it picks up debris, chemicals, dirt, and other pollutants. Stormwater can flow into a storm sewer system and eventually to Lake Mead used for swimming, fishing, and providing drinking water. Polluted runoff is the nation’s greatest threat to clean water. Reducing the quantity of pollutants and improving the quality of stormwater runoff in the Las Vegas Valley can start with individual homeowners. By implementing the following Best Management Practices (BMPs), homeowners can significantly reduce pollutants like pesticides, pet waste, grass clippings, and automotive fluids off the ground and out of stormwater. Adopt these healthy household habits and help protect the Las Vegas Wash and Lake Mead.

Hazardous Waste: 

Household hazardous waste is defined as common everyday products that people use in and around their homes including paint, paint thinner, herbicides, and pesticides that, due to their chemical nature, can be hazardous if not properly disposed. As a rule, persons who generate household hazardous wastes should not pour them down the sink or put them in the regular trash unless they are certain that the wastes are non-hazardous to humans or the environment. In general, only non-hazardous solids should be disposed of in the regular trash.

Charitable Car Washes: 

When operating a charitable car wash, allowing wastewater to flow into storm drains (via streets and gutters) should be avoided and minimized to the extent practical. Wastewater runoff contains soap and oil residue, which should not be allowed to enter the storm drains. 

Horse Owners: 

Animal waste contributes to water pollution when it is improperly stored or left uncovered near small streams and storm drains. During rainfall, it is washed into storm drains and flows untreated, directly into the Las Vegas Wash. Animal waste contains some nutrients--phosphorus and nitrogen--as well as bacteria. The nutrients fertilize the aquatic plants causing their proliferation which depletes oxygen in the water, killing water life. The high bacteria levels in the water can cause gastro-intestinal disorders and other medical problems. Sediment is also a common pollutant washed from pastures and livestock facilities. It creates multiple problems once it enters the Las Vegas Wash. It harms water life by clogging the gills of fish, blocking light transmission and increasing the Las Vegas Wash water temperature.


Landscaping and garden maintenance activities can be major contributors to pollution. Soils, yard wastes, overwatering, and garden chemicals become part of the urban runoff mix that winds its way through streets, gutters, and storm drains before entering the Las Vegas Wash. Poorly functioning sprinklers and overwatering, for example, wastewater and increase the number of pollutants flowing into storm drains. Fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides are washed off lawns and landscaped areas. These chemicals not only kill garden invaders, but they also harm useful insects and contaminate ground and surface water. Leaves, grass clippings, and tree trimmings that are swept or blown into the street and gutter are also Las Vegas Wash polluters. These wastes clog catch basins, increasing the risk of flooding on your street, and carry garden chemicals into the Las Vegas Wash. As they decompose, they also absorb oxygen aquatic life need to survive.

Sewage Disposal: 

Clark County is responsible for making sure that water bodies affected by activities of residents and businesses within the Las Vegas Valley, are pollution free. Sample tests of run-off water taken regularly in the Las Vegas Wash outlet, too often, result in high levels of bacterial content that exceed safe water contact recreation, especially during rainy weather. One potential source of bacteria in the watershed is malfunctioning sewage disposal systems. Septic tank failures have been documented on private properties in the Las Vegas area. The following information is a reminder on how to maintain a private sewage disposal system --and keep our environment clean. Septic System Description A septic tank is the first stage of a private sewage disposal system. The septic tank is a watertight tank below ground and is usually made of concrete and sometimes of fiberglass or steel. It usually has one or two access ports a few inches below ground. The tank receives household wastewater through an inlet pipe near the top of one side, settles out larger material to the bottom, breaks down waste material with in situ bacteria, and delivers the partially treated wastewater out another pipe on the other side to the disposal field via a distribution box. A disposal field is the second stage of the private sewage disposal system and completes the final breakdown of the wastewater with organisms in the soil. The disposal field consists of narrow trenches filled with gravel and perforated pipes that distribute the wastewater to the field. With proper maintenance, a well designed system should last indefinitely; however, disposal field soils will normally clog if forced to handle the large particles that should settle out in the bottom of the septic tank. Routine pumping of the septic tank is imperative to avoid thousands of dollars in replacement costs of the disposal field.

Answering the prompts below counts towards earning an All-In Sustainability Leaders certificate!

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