Around the house

  • Correctly dispose of chemicals: Do not dump. Incorrect disposal of hazardous chemicals is extremely harmful to people, pets and the environment. To dispose of household hazardous waste, such as drain cleaner, pool chemicals, aerosol products, paint thinner, and many others contact the Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center at 319-356-5185 to schedule an appointment for disposal. To dispose of used motor oil, no appointment is necessary, and the disposal site is also located at the landfill. More information is available at
  • Use only phosphorus-free (P-Free) fertilizers on the lawn: If you fertilize the lawn, be sure to use only phosphorus-free (P-Free) fertilizer. If a spill occurs, clean it up using a broom, rather than a hose, because the water will make its way into stormwater drains. Excess phosphorus in our waterways creates algae blooms and oxygen depletion in our lakes and ponds.
  • Check vehicles for leaks, and fix them: If you notice your car is leaking fluid, be sure to fix the problem immediately. Instead of using water to wash away the spill, use a substance such as kitty litter to absorb the spill, and prevent it from polluting our waterways. To dispose of hazardous chemicals such as anti-freeze contact the Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center at 319-356-5185 to schedule an appointment, free of charge. More information is available at No appointment is necessary for disposal of used motor oil. The disposal site is also located at the landfill.
  • Washing the car: Dirty water contains soaps and detergents; gas and oil; residues from exhaust; and heavy metals. Instead of washing the car in the driveway or street, which allows these pollutants to enter the water system, take it to a car wash. Car washes are required to send the water to a treatment plant before it enters the waterways. As an alternative, wash your vehicle on the lawn. The soil will filter out many of these pollutants and slow the entry process into the storm drains.

On the street

  • Keep storm drains clear of litter and debris: To allow water to efficiently flow through the storm drains, be sure that the drain is clear of litter and other debris. To find out how you can receive free yard waste disposal, check out our Adopt-A-Drain program.
  • Pick up after your pet: Pet waste is a major contaminant of our waterways. Be sure to always pick up after your pet.
  • Sweep up sand and ice melt: Rather than letting the rain, or a hose wash away the excess sand and ice melt from the winter months, sweep it up with a broom to help eliminate the contamination of our storm drains.
  • Keep grass clippings in your yard: It is against City Code to blow grass clippings from the mower into the street. Aim your lawnmower discharge back towards your lawn. This will keep the grass from clogging storm drains and provide natural fertilizer to your lawn.

City Government