By Erin Moran | CBS 11 News

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Rain is a blessing, especially in an often drought-ridden Texas. But that same rainwater can overflow clogged pipes, sending untreated sewage out of the manholes and into our water.

“A lot of people don’t realize that the storm drain inlets in their neighborhood flow directly into the nearest creek, and that’s untreated,” said Echo Rexroad, an environmental quality manager with the city of Plano. “So, when people pour oil down the storm drain inlets or when they allow pesticides or fertilizers to run off their property, that goes into the nearest creek and in the DFW, all of that goes into the Trinity River.”

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The things Rexroad said we should be most concerned with are the fats, oils and grease we dump down the kitchen sink, along with the so-called flushable wipes we send down the toilet. These items can end up clogging our home sewer lines, which becomes a major problem especially after a heavy rainfall.

“All of these reservoirs these creeks and streams are flowing into, this is where we get our drinking water. This is where we recreate. This is where our wildlife resides. And so, we really have to be cognizant of what we allow to go into our storm inlets,” said Rexroad.

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Allowing untreated sewage into our watersheds can lead to bacteria build up in our drinking and recreational water. Some of the main culprits include E-coli and algae blooms. The algae blooms are especially harmful, and often deadly to fish and other aquatic wildlife. In February, a sample from Lake Granbury detected the golden algae bloom and it was classified as highly toxic to fish.

To do our part in keeping our drinking and recreation water clean, there are a few things Rexroad says we can do. Collect those fats, oils and greases from the kitchen and put them into a separate container. You can bring that to a recycling center or a household hazardous waste center and they’ll dispose of it for you. Another thing to consider is whether your vehicle may have a leak. You’ll want to put a drip pan under it to collect any leaking oils and fluids and dispose of that properly, as well. One more household item to consider? Fertilizer. Keep an eye on the forecast and make sure you don’t over-fertilize before a heavy rain! Not only is it likely to get washed away and pollute our watersheds, but it ends up being a waste of money for you (as you’ll need to re-fertilize in the near future).

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Click here for more information on where you can find a household hazardous waste center.