Tips for Household, Stormwater Health

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DIY Opportunities

Caring for Your Property Can Mean Safer Water Quality

  • Rain Barrel - learn how to make a rain barrel, save on your water bill, and keep your yard looking healthy! Here's another great resource with different rain barrel options:
  • Compost Bin - a great DIY on how to make your own tumbling composter bin to naturally fertilize your garden. A tumbling composter is great for food scraps, but there are many ways to make a composting bin, so look into what will work for you!

diagram about how trash gets into creeks


Trash and chemicals don't just get in our waters from beach goers and boaters, our streets and households are also a large contributing factor. Overloaded garbage cans greatly contribute to trash in our environment. Seal your trash bags and don’t overfill garbage bins. If you’re not at home, find recycling bins and garbage cans around the City or at your local businesses. Keep our neighborhoods beautiful, and our lake and stream ecosystems clean!

cleaning gutters


Check and clean gutters regularly. Make sure appropriate ground material is below downspouts to prevent soil erosion. For roofs without gutters, plant grass, spread mulch, or use gravel under the drip line to increase water infiltration into the ground. Consider using rain barrels to catch rainwater for outdoor water use and to reduce your water bill!

Salt Smarts


Many deicing products use salt chloride, which has damaging salination properties to the quality of our water, and can not be filtered out. One teaspoon of this salt can permanently pollute five gallons of water. Salt harms aquatic life, and lake and stream ecosystems. For the most effective use of de-icing products, always shovel before salting surfaces. Use de-icers lightly, and only when the temperature is above 15°F (ineffective at colder temperatures).

saving water at home diagram

Conserve Water

Conserve the amount of water you use outdoors. Avoid watering lawns before, after, and during rain events. Shut off sprinkler systems if rain is forecasted. Extra water can overwhelm stormwater systems and retention basins, especially during heavy rains. Collecting rain water in rain barrels or cisterns for use in gardening or landscaping is a great way to reduce your water bill and reduce strain on the City's stormwater system.

various chemicals

Household Chemicals

Disposal of household chemicals and other household hazardous waste at appropriate waste disposal sites. The closest location to Cambridge is the Chisago County Household Hazardous Waste Facility in North Branch. For more information on what they accept, call them at (651) 213-8920. Isanti Residents can use their services for free, just contact Isanti County to get a form to bring to the drop off location. Isanti County can be reach at (763) 689-5165. Store potentially hazardous materials in waterproof containers in a garage, shed, or basement. If leaks or spills occur, clean them up immediately, and call the reference number on the container.

renovation/construction in progress


If you are working on your house, be sure to protect bare soils from draining to streets. Check weather for rain events before painting or applying chemicals such as sealants to driveways and houses. Reminder: It is City ordinance that property owners prevent soil and other illicit discharge from entering the streets and storm system.

paver stones

Paved Surface

Minimize paved surfaces when possible, if feasible use alternatives. Using large slabs of concrete prevents rainwater from soaking into the ground. Pavers can greatly reduce runoff, while creating beautiful spaces. Permeable surfaces allow rainwater to seep through, slowing the amount and verocity of water getting into the stormwater system. Wood chips and gravel can be great alternatives to walkways. If paved surfaces are unavoidable, keep them clean and maintained.

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