When it comes to used motor oil, stay far away from drains in your home, garage, a sewer, or a storm drain. And never pour motor oil directly on the ground or in the street. To dispose of motor oil properly, check your local auto parts store—they may even recycle the oil.
When it comes to yard work, even a simple grass cutting may be harmful to the storm drain on the street. Storm drains direct rain runoff into large pipes that lead to major ditches and waterways; there’s no treatment facility between the yard and the final destination. Grass and plant clippings, leaves and other materials can clump and cause neighborhood flooding.
If your lawn is chemically treated, these chemicals may contaminate the water running into the drain from rain or a sprinkler system. Even non-treated lawn clippings aren’t good. As they decompose, they release carbon and nitrogen that feeds algae and uses up the oxygen in the water. Although it may seem as if you only let a few clippings run into the drain, it’s important to consider the amount of everyone on your street.