Good stormwater management practices around the home are essential to preserving Hempstead Town's beautiful natural resources. As stormwater flows over driveways, lawns, sidewalks, and streets, it picks up debris, chemicals, and other pollutants. Stormwater flows into our storm drain system and discharges into our creeks, streams, bays, and groundwater. Polluted runoff is one of the nation's greatest threat to clean waters. The information provided on this page is designed to help you adopt healthy household habits and help protect our wetlands, coastal waters, and groundwater.
- You Can Help Stop Water Pollution
- Only Rain Should Go Down Our Storm Drains
- Put Pet Waste in Its Place
- Storm Drain Medallion Program
- Green Infrastructure
- Marine Debris
- Report an Environmental Complaint
- Annual Stormwater Management Report
You Can Help Stop Water Pollution
According to recent studies, polluted stormwater is a major cause of water pollution problems in New York State. One way we can help is by increasing the amount of water that soaks into the ground, which will then recharge our aquifers and reduce the amount of water flowing into the street. Here's what you can do to increase water absorption by making improvements around your home or business:
- Plant trees, shrubs, or ground covers
- Redirect downspouts from paved areas to vegetated areas
- Use a rain barrel to catch and store water for gardens
- Install gravel trenches along driveways or patios
- When building a new home, or renovating your driveway, have the driveway and walkways graded so water flows onto lawn areas
- Use permeable pavers or similar green infrastructure installations for driveways, walkways, patios, or any hardscaping or landscaping project (learn more in the Green Infrastructure tab below)
More Ways You Can Help Stop Water Pollution
- Minimize use of lawn chemicals (herbicides, pesticides, fertilizers) and de-icing materials
- Keep storm drains clear of leaves, plastics, litter and other debris
- Properly dispose of hazardous waste (automotive fluids, solvents, cleaners, etc.) at the Town’s S.T.O.P. Program
- Clean up household spills! Don’t wash them into the street or a storm drain
- Sweep (don’t wash) grass clippings, leaves, soil and fertilizer off paved areas. If left there, rain will wash them into storm drains. Compost these items instead!
- Wash your car at a professional car wash, or if that’s not possible, use eco-friendly biodegradable soaps and prevent water runoff to nearby streets,
- Volunteer for our Storm Drain Medallion Program (learn more in the Storm Drain Medallion Program tab below)
From pet waste and pesticides to old motor oil, paint and antifreeze, residents should never dump anything down storm drains! Read what you can do to help keep our waterways clean by reviewing an informative brochure on Storm Drains produced by the Town of Hempstead Office of Communications and Public Affairs.
Put Pet Waste in Its Place
You Can Keep Our Planet Clean…Put Pet Waste In Its Place!
When dog waste is not properly disposed of it can wash into nearby waterways through local storm drains. Being released directly into bays and streams, untreated animal feces can become a significant source of runoff pollution, contaminating Hempstead Town's natural marine environment. Swimming in waters affected by pet waste can pose health hazards. Waste carries bacteria, viruses, and parasites that can present risks to human health and threaten wildlife. Contaminated dirt or sand poses a risk of infection for adults who garden and young children playing outdoors. Flies may also spread diseases from animal waste. In order to minimize health risks and reduce pollution the town recommends the following precautions:
- Pick up your pet waste and properly dispose of it
- Do not bury pet waste in vegetable gardens
- Have your pet examined by a veterinarian on an annual basis to check for the presence of intestinal parasites
To help educate your community and raise awareness about this issue, you can volunteer to place No Dumping Pet Waste medallions. For more info please see the Storm Drain Medallion Program tab.
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Storm Drain Medallion Program
No Dumping & Drains to Bay Medallions
For many years, Hempstead Town has been working with volunteers to affix “No Dumping” medallions on storm drains throughout the entire township. The medallions serve as a reminder that dumping has environmental consequences and nothing but rainwater should go into our storm drains. This program is part of the township’s efforts to curtail "nonpoint” source pollution of local waterways. With the assistance of volunteers, the Town’s goal is to affix “No Dumping” medallions at all ~30,000 storm drains located in the township. The Town has also installed “Drains to Bay” medallions to educate communities about where stormwater drains to in their neighborhoods, and that only rain water should drain into any of our bays or stream systems.
© 2016 das Manufacturing, Inc.
Ground Water Medallions
Several parts of Hempstead Town do not drain to surface water, but to groundwater recharge basins. These are mostly in locations developed after about 1940 such as Levittown, parts of East Meadow, and some neighborhoods in other parts of the Town. To help educate the public to the possibility of polluting the groundwaters, and potentially our drinking water, we have added these “Drains To Groundwater” medallions to supplement our “Drains to Bay” medallions.
© 2016 das Manufacturing, Inc.
Pet Waste Medallions
The medallion program has been expanded to target improper pet waste disposal! Hempstead Town introduced a Pet Waste medallion (“Doo Dot”) with a crystal clear message that pet waste should NOT be dumped down storm drains, but rather disposed of properly after being picked up. This new addition to the medallion program is intended as a complimentary message to the original “NO DUMPING” medallions, with the new goal of having the “Doo Dots” affixed at all town storm drain locations, alongside the original medallions.
© 2016 das Manufacturing, Inc.
We need your help!
We are looking for individuals or groups to help place medallions at storm drain locations lacking these markers. Hempstead Town will provide volunteers with medallions, gloves and adhesive. In addition, the Town will furnish training for installation of the medallions and maps of storm drain locations. To find out more or to volunteer, please call (516) 897-4115.
Green Infrastructure is a cost-effective resilient approach that utilizes natural processes to manage wet weather and flooding events. It seeks to mimic nature by allowing water to enter the ground instead of our waterways.
Benefits of Green Infrastructure:
- Absorbs harmful substances before they enter our waterways
- Improves water quality by preventing runoff
- Provides flood protection
- Promotes overall health and well-being of natural habitats for wildlife
- Recharges our critical aquifers - our only source of clean tap water on Long Island
Examples of Green Infrastructure include:
- Permeable pavements including permeable pavers, concrete, asphalt, stone
- Rain Gardens
- Native Plantings for Landscaping
- Green Roofs
- Rainwater Harvesting (i.e., use of rain barrels)
- Planter Boxes
- Improving the Urban Tree Canopy
Permeable Paver Installation at Clean Energy Park
Permeable Pavers are one type of Green Infrastructure. They consist of interlocking precast blocks with stone filled joints configured to allow water to pass between the pavers and filter through the layers of stone and sand installed underneath. A permeable paver installation, consisting of a driveway and several walkways, is on display at our Clean Energy Park located at 1401 Lido Blvd., Point Lookout.
Benefits of Permeable Pavers:
- Slowly releases precipitation and surface runoff into the ground
- Reduces the concentration of some pollutants
- Cools down urban areas
- Reduces the frequency and severity of localized flooding
- Recharges underground aquifers
Marine Debris & Storm Drains
Debris that enters our storm drain system ends up being discharged into our waterways, and can cause many problems for ocean ecosystems, people and wildlife. For more information on the harmful impacts of marine debris please visit NOAA’s Marine Debris Program.
Hempstead Town’s Marine Debris Removal Program removes nearly 700 tons of debris from our waterways each year. Learn more about this program and how to report debris here.
Operation S.P.L.A.SH. (Stop Polluting Littering And Save Harbors), is an organization dedicated to keeping waterways clean. It is a non-profit volunteer organization committed to improving the quality of life on Long Island’s shores. Their mission is to “Bring Back The Bays through Clean-ups, Advocacy, and Education”. SPLASH boats go out on patrol daily and remove trash and debris from local waterways and shorelines.
Volunteer and learn more about Operation S.P.L.A.S.H.
Report an Environmental Complaint
From the illegal dumping of industrial waste to the improper disposal of household chemicals, our delicate ecosystem is in constant danger of being compromised. We need your help to protect our groundwater, drinking water, streams, and bays from the dangers presented by the mishandling of items that may be harmful.
Please do your part and report any incidents or problems that you observe. Together we can help to keep the planet "green and clean" for future generations.
To report an environmental complaint
- Please use our Helpline form
- During normal business hours, you may call our Helpline at 516-489-6000
- After hours contact the Department of Public Safety at 516-538-1900
- Contact the Bay Constables at 516-897-4109
- Contact the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
Stormwater Pollution & Green Infrastructure Solutions Video
The Nassau County Soil and Water Conservation District produced this educational film on Stormwater Pollution and Green Infrastructure, as a joint project with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. We hope you enjoy it and share what you have learned with your friends and family. We work together, for healthy soils and clean water. To learn more and for more stormwater education resources, visit www.nassauswcd.org