Public Education and Outreach


The City of Bismarck is developing a public education and outreach program to let our citizens know about the impacts of stormwater discharges and the measures we all can take to reduce pollutants in stormwater runoff.

During rain events or snow melt, excess fertilizer, lawn clippings, trash, oil deposits, soil, or other pollutants find their way into the storm sewer and into local streams and ponds. The city is working to protect our waterways and promote stewardship towards our land, water, and downstream neighbors.

Helpful Homeowner Habits

Many of our daily activities can impact the quality of our water bodies. Rain and snow melt wash pollutants into our streams and ponds untreated. There are many easy ways to prevent stormwater pollution.

Check your sump pump every spring

Check your sump pumps to ensure proper functionality. Due to high groundwater levels and a wet spring, many sump pumps that typically do not run are turning on this year.

The City of Bismarck has received many calls pertaining to citizens discharging their sump water to their yard in such a manner that is causing erosion. It is recommended that you drain this water away from your home on to a non-erodible surface such as concrete so that it will drain into the street if possible.

Also, in discharging to your own yard, you recycle the water that then returns to your sump. Do not pump water into your floor drains, toilets, or sinks in your home as that increases the volume of water to the wastewater treatment plant.

Lawn Fertilizer and Chemicals

  • Apply lawn and any other garden chemicals sparingly and according to the directions.
  • Make sure your fertilizers are phosphorous free.
  • Our soils have plenty of naturally occurring phosphorous.
  • Phosphorous is usually only needed when trying to establish a new yard.
  • Excess amounts contribute to algal blooms and oxygen deficiency in our water bodies.

Chemical Disposal

Litter and Pet Waste

  • Keep litter, yard waste, and debris out of street gutters and storm drains.
  • Pick up pet waste; just remember that anything that gets on our streets usually ends up down the drain during the next rainfall.

Soil Erosion

  • Bare spots in your yard can lose soil, adding sediment to our water bodies.
  • Control erosion by planting ground cover and stabilizing erosion-prone areas.

Septic Systems

  • Make sure that your septic system is properly maintained and is functioning properly.
  • Have your septic system inspected and pumped regularly.

Detergents and Cleaners

  • Look for eco-friendly detergents and cleaners that are low in or have no phosphorous.
  • This helps reduce the amount of nutrients discharged into our streams and rivers.

Water Management

  • Divert gutters of impervious surfaces, including driveways and sidewalks, and into vegetated areas to allow water a chance to infiltrate into the soil.
  • Make sure that you don’t over-water your turf grass and make sure you are watering your yard, not your sidewalk or driveway.

The Next Step

Here are a few ways to improve stormwater through actions at home
  • Native Planting – add deep-rooted native vegetation that adds water capacity to the soil and beauty to your yard.
    • Native plants are adapted to our weather and require little watering once established.
  • Soil Amendments – improve soil quality by aerating and adding compost to your turf grass.
    • This allows for deeper root growth for better soils.
    • Better soils allow for more water infiltration into the ground and not run off of your yard.
    • Community involvement is a key component to the stormwater program’s success.
    • If you need to report a concern, express an idea, or recommend a change pertaining to stormwater, please use the report a concern button on the left of the page.