Seasonal Educational Messages

These educational messages are distributed seasonally via social media, public access television, and the Town's website. They satisfy the Minimum Control Measures that are required under the NPDES MS4 Permit.

Tips for De-Icing At Your Home or Business (First week of December)

As the weather gets colder, salt on our roadways, walkways, and driveways helps keep us safe but once the salt is washed off it can make its way into nearby wetlands, streams, rivers, and groundwater. The salt raises the salinity in soil and water, which makes it harder for plants to absorb nutrients. The salinity also causes great stress on freshwater wildlife. Over time the salt makes its way into our rivers and wells in turn affecting our drinking water supply.

Here Are Some Salt Alternatives to Consider for Your Home or Business

  • Sand - Mixed with salt to reduce the amount of salt or used by itself for traction
  • Ashes - Absorbs moisture before it freezes and increases traction
  • Kitty Litter - Absorbs moisture before it freezes and increases traction
  • Coffee Grounds - Natural acidity melts ice and increases traction
  • Pickle Brine - Lower salt content than road salt but acidity also aids in melting ice
  • Sugar Beet Juice - Lowers the melting point of ice

Tips for Snow Removal & Salt / Sand Contractors

  • Calibrate equipment according to manufactures specification
  • Buy equipment that can deliver very low rates of granular products.
  • Outfit trucks with ground speed controls so that the application rate changes automatically as the speed changes.
  • Inform your clients about salt alternatives or blends
  • When cleaning excess salt off of roadway equipment make sure that the wash-water is controlled and does not flow to sensitive areas such as wetlands and waterways.
  • Covered or indoor storage of salt/sand is recommended.
  • Store on an impervious (waterproof) surface.
  • The floor should be sloped away from the door or entrance.
  • Sweep loading areas back into the pile.
  • Store salt and sand away from grated catch basins, rivers, ditches, and wetlands

Pick Up After Your Pets and Help Keep Our Stormwater Clean! (First weeks of April & August)

Remember to always pick up after your dog and only dispose of the waste in the trash. Never dispose of pet waste in the town's grated catch basins or dispose of waste in a wetland or wooded area. Dog waste can be a major contributor of stormwater pollution that can degrade water quality. During snow melt and rainfall, pet waste left on lawns, trails, and sidewalks washes into the town's grated catch basins, wetlands, stream and rivers. The pet waste and the pathogens it contains (nutrients, bacteria, parasites, and viruses) end up flowing directly into streams, wetlands and rivers where they can harm human health, wildlife and the environment.

Lawn Care and Property Maintenance Tips to Help Keep Our Stormwater Clean! (First weeks of May & October)

Rain that runs off from lawns can be a major contributor of pollution to stormwater. Simple tasks that we perform to take care of our properties, such as raking up leaves, mowing, applying fertilizers, watering and cleaning can impact our streams, wetlands or rivers where they can harm human health, wildlife and the environment. Here are some tips to help keep our stormwater clean as you maintain your properties and lawns:

Lawn Care

  • Mow your lawn so no more than one-third of the length of the grass is removed
  • Leave the grass clippings on the lawn or compost
  • Compost or throw away leaves and other organic matter instead of putting it in the streets (Excess leaves and organic matter can contribute to nutrient levels in streams, wetlands or rivers)
  • Don't dump leaves or grass clippings near streams, wetlands, rivers or wooded areas
  • Instead of raking up you leaves try mulching them with your mower into smaller bits. This can have the same effect as adding store-bought fertilizer
  • If you have an excessive amount of leaves, please use the Town's annual curbside leaf pickup
  • Sweep grass from paved areas back on the lawn
  • Hand pick or spot treat for weeds or not at all


  • Do not over water. Excessive runoff wastes water and can wash away chemicals you may have added to your yard
  • Direct downspouts to a depressed area or a garden bed so the water soaks into your yard instead of rushing out to the street


  • Fertilize only when necessary. Have your soil tested before you apply so you know what nutrients you need for your yard
  • Do not fertilize if it the forecast calls for heavy rain in the next day or two
  • Make sure to follow all fertilizer instructions and use only what you need. Too much fertilizer can runoff your yard and into storm drains and streams, wetlands, or rivers
  • Use compost whenever possible instead of fertilizer. Compost has many benefits such as providing sufficient nutrients for your landscape but also improving soil health
  • Keep a mowing and fertilizing buffer around streams, wetlands, rivers or wooded areas so that erosion and nutrient loading are minimized

Yard Design

  • Consider installing a rain garden and directing your roof drains to it
  • Incorporate swales and berms to your landscape so runoff is contained and doesn't leave your yard
  • Consider using bricks, flagstone, stone, gravel, and other porous materials instead of impervious surfaces, such as asphalt and concrete
  • Plant trees and shrubs to capture and hold rainwater before it can reach the ground

Exterior Cleaning

  • Use dry cleanup methods, such as a broom and dustpan whenever possible
  • If you must use water, divert it to landscaping where it can infiltrate

Septic System Maintenance Tips to help keep our Stormwater Clean (Second week of July)

Maintaining your septic system is important in keeping a healthy home for you and your family but also for the surrounding environment. If not properly maintained the effluent (liquids) and solids for your septic system can make their way into our streams, wetlands and rivers where they can harm human health, wildlife and the environment.

Here as some tips to help keep your septic system functioning properly:

  • Have your septic tank inspected regularly.
  • Pump out your septic tank at least once every three years or annually for homes with a domestic garbage grinder.
  • Use biodegradable toilet paper that breaks down easily.
  • Conserve water to limit the amount that goes into the tank.
  • Never put grease or harsh chemicals-such as solvents, bleach, drain cleaners, pesticides, gasoline, and paint-down a drain or toilet.
  • Do not put non-biodegradable items-including dental floss, disposable diapers, kitty litter, feminine hygiene products, facial tissue, and cigarettes-down a drain or toilet.
  • Do not build or pave on or near a septic tank or field lines unless approved in accordance with state and local regulations.
  • Avoid planting trees or shrubs on or near a septic tank or field lines.
  • Do not locate a garden on or near a septic tank or field lines.
  • Call a septic tank company if your drains show signs of backing up or draining slowly.

Draining Your Swimming Pool (First week of September)

Did you know that you cannot discharge chlorinated pool water on the street or a catchb asin directly?

The Town of Tewksbury's Municipal Storm Water By-Laws allows discharge from de-chlorinated swimming pool water (less than one ppm total chlorine) provided the water is allowed to stand for one week prior to draining. When chlorinated water enters the town's streams, wetlands and rivers, it harms aquatic life, wildlife, and the environment.

Here Are Some Tips

  • Allow water to dechlorinate for one-week minimum before draining (Sunlight will help to naturally dissipate the chlorine)
  • Let the dechlorinated water flow over your lawn before going into the roadway
  • Never pump any water directly into a wetland, stream or river
  • If you hire a contractor to work on your pool, inform them about the Town's stormwater by laws if they have to drain the pool