What you can do

Keeping stormwater clean is all about the little everyday actions that add up over time. Storm water health is key to making sure our lakes, rivers, and streams remain clean and usable.

Clean Water Tip #1: Scoop Your Dog’s Poop

You hate stepping in it, and fish hate swimming in it, too! Regularly scoop your dog’s poop from public areas and your backyard, before it washes into our waterways.

Pet waste left on grass or sidewalks doesn’t stay there. Every time it rains, the waste breaks down and washes into our rivers. You can put waste in those handy pet waste stations that are popping up everywhere, though any outside trash can is just fine. 

Under Medford’s pet waste ordinance, it is illegal to not pick up pet waste! You can receive a penalty for failing to follow the pet waste ordinance!

Clean Water Tip #2: Catch Your Rain

Capture the rain that falls on your property in a rain barrel, rain garden, or on the leaves of your trees and shrubs. You’ll reduce flooding and keep our waterways clean.
When rainwater runs across dirty areas (like streets, sidewalks, and construction sites), it carries that pollution into our waterways. When you keep that water onsite, you can use it yourself or let it soak into the ground or evaporate, instead of picking up trash and pollution on its way to the nearest waterway.

The City of Medford usually partners with an outside company to provide rain barrels for residents each year. 

Check this page for updates about where to buy rain barrels for the coming year. 

Clean Water Tip #3: Test Your Soil and Read Your Fertilizer Labels

Test your soil and read the label before you apply fertilizer. If you use too much fertilizer, the excess will just wash away in the next rain, polluting your local waterways. 
If you need to use fertilizer, slow release and phosphorous-free fertilizer are safer for the environment. Always check the weather forecast to avoid applying them before a storm in order to give the fertilizer time to absorb into the ground. And if your yard doesn’t need fertilizer, there’s plenty that you can do each spring. You can spread fresh grass seed, cut your lawn at the tallest grass height setting, aerate your soil, and plant some of those native shrubs you’ve been eyeing. 

Clean Water Tip #4: Bag or Compost Your Grass

In the spring, bag your grass clippings for curbside pickup.  You can download and view the 2021 collection schedule here. Even better, compost them to make a natural fertilizer for your garden.  

You can purchase a compost bin from the Medford DPW throughout the year. But whatever you do, don’t dump them in a storm drain or leave them on the sidewalk!

When grass clippings decay in your composter, that’s healthy fertilizer. But when they rot in our streams, that’s water pollution! 

There are more ways you can help!

Be aware of illegal dumping.

If you are unsure whether or not that the dumping is illegal, contact the Office of Planning, Development, and Sustainability at (781) 393-2480.

To report someone call Medford’s Code Enforcement Officer Dennis McDonald at (781) 393-2510. 

The best way to wash your car is to bring it to a professional car wash. These facilities have infrastructure to deal with excess amounts of waste water. If you want to do it at home, try washing your car on your lawn or in a place where the water will flow into a permeable surface. Also try using biodegradable/non-toxic soap or no soap at all.

Wash your car in an environmentally friendly way.

Make your driveway permeable.

Asphalt and/or concrete create an impervious surface, causing an increase in stormwater runoff. Permeable pavers are a great alternative that allows water to seep through the pavement and soak into the ground below. This significantly lowers the amount of stormwater runoff. They come in many different styles — they even come in pavement form! You can also consider using brick, gravel, cobblestones, and natural stone as substitutes for concrete.

What can YOU do to keep your pavement safe while also keeping your water clean?

  • Use   de-icer (sodium acetate, potassium acetate, and calcium magnesium acetate) instead of salt (sodium chloride, calcium chloride, and magnesium chloride)
  • Shovel early and often. Remove as much snow and ice as you can, and only use de-icer on what you can’t take care of with a shovel
  • Follow product instructions and only use as much de-icer as you need. More is not better.
  • For heavy snowfalls, shovel early and often to avoid the snow compacting and forming ice.
  • For wet snow or sleet and freezing rain, apply de-icer product early on to prevent snow from bonding or ice from building up.

For more information on how you can help, please review our stormwater pollution solutions (pdf). 

For more information on storm water and its effects on the environment visit the City of Medford Stormwater Management page