Public Education and Outreach


The City of Bismarck has developed 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 get washed 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 often to make sure they are working properly. 
  • Having a backup pump is a good idea or even a 12-volt battery backup pump for power outages. 
  • When possible, warm weather sump discharge should go to a non erodible surface (driveway-streets); by doing this it helps us save treatment & pumping costs at the Waste Water Treatment Plant. 
  • It is never a good idea to run your sump discharge onto a lawn or any pervious surface, the water will just be recycled into your neighbors or your own sump system.
  • Winter time sump discharge should go into the sanitary system (floor drain-tub).

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.

Water Management 

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

Chemical Disposal

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.

Lawn Fertilizer and Chemicals

  • Apply lawn and any other garden chemicals as directed.
  • Make sure 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.

Litter and Pet Waste 

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

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.
  • The Report a Concern feature allows you to report a concern, express an idea, or recommend a change pertaining to stormwater,