Auburn officials are asking residents in the city and surrounding areas to take action and prevent storm water pollution and sewer clogs during the rainy season. When it rains, storm water can either soak into the ground, called “infiltration” or run off into a storm drain or natural waterway. As the water runs down driveways, through parking lots and down the street into gutters, it picks up sand, leaves, soil, animal waste and chemical pollutants and can deposit them directly into our natural waterways. This storm water runoff can also push the debris it collects into the storm drain system causing blockages and sewer overflows. Raw sewage overflows are costly to fix and damaging to the environment. “We are asking citizens to be good stewards of our creeks and rivers by paying attention to the area immediately around their home,” said Jack Warren, director of public works for the City of Auburn. “There are a few simple steps each household can take and if we all do a little bit, we will make a big and positive impact in protecting the environment.” Warren encourages residents to do the following: • Keep leaves cleared away from sidewalks, roads and especially, street gutters. Place in your green waste bin, compost or take to the Auburn Placer Transfer Station (there will be a small fee for dropping off leaves). • Cover exposed soil to prevent erosion. A simple covering of straw or wood chips will protect the soil. If there is still time to plant your favorite ground cover, do it before heavy rain hits and steals your investment in topsoil. Lay down a layer of weed block which will protect the soil and prevent weeds until the plants fill in. • Sweep fertilizers and pesticides off of the sidewalk and driveway and back onto your lawn where they can be properly absorbed. • Be extra careful with automotive products like motor oil, gasoline and antifreeze. Protect the ground from any spills and if you do spill, take immediate steps to absorb the spill and discard safely. • Pick up pet waste from your lawn, parks and walkways around town and dispose of properly in your garbage can or by burying. Pet feces in green belts and Auburn-area trails add to the amount of bacteria in the rivers and creeks and can cause algae blooms and other negative environmental impacts. • Do not spray pesticides when rain is imminent. You will be wasting money and unnecessarily polluting the environment as the pesticides run off of the leaves and branches and into the waterways. “It seems that such tiny steps are insignificant, but when everyone does a small part, the entire ecosystem benefits,” said Warren. The City of Auburn Public Works Department launched the Healthy Auburn Waters campaign in January to address issues like proper hazardous waste disposal, storm water education and pollution prevention. More information about best practices to prevent erosion and pollution from storm water is located at www.HealthyAuburnWaters. org.