Here in Onondaga County, litter, rain, our water system and Onondaga Lake are all connected. The small choices you make throughout our community can go a long way.
Click the How You Can Help button above for simple ways to get involved and make a positive impact on our county and its future.
Like more than 750 other communities across the country, Onondaga County operates on a combined sewer system. While there are advantages to this type of system, there are challenges as well.
When it rains, litter on the street is washed down storm drains and into the water system.
In times of heavy rain, our 2,300 miles of sewers and water treatment plant are overwhelmed.
Overflow is diverted into Onondaga Lake...
and the diverted stormwater carries trash into the lake.
Water quality in Onondaga Lake is the best it’s been in 100 years.
We’ve worked hard as a community for a cleaner future - and now it’s our responsibility to make sure that work doesn’t go down the drain.
98% of trash that makes its way to the lake
is street-born litter.
Onondaga County has implemented over 180 green infrastructure projects, in addition to smart investments in gray infrastructure, to manage stormwater and prevent combined sewer overflows. We're also installing technology in catch basins across the City of Syracuse to stop litter from entering the sewer system. And we're working to clean up litter that has reached the Inner Harbor and the shore of Onondaga Lake.
We need your help to keep improving water quality and prevent street litter from reaching the water entirely.
Let’s make our community cleaner, one block at a time. Take the pledge and help us Block Litter where you live. It’s as simple as picking up litter on your street. Sign up today and we’ll send a special starter kit.Learn More
You can make a big impact by simply properly tossing out your trash and encouraging family, friends and total strangers not to litter as well.
Let’s work together to clean up our community – and prevent street litter from reaching our waterways!
It is important to rake leaves and bag them up to keep them out of the sewer. Save the Rain leaf bags are available at local libraries and community centers near you.
Free rain barrels are distributed to City of Syracuse homeowners to capture stormwater from the roof of their homes. Rain water collected in the barrels can be used to water flowers, wash cars, or other non-potable purposes.Learn More
Trees are an important aspect of Save the Rain. Trees naturally soak up stormwater and use the precipitation to feed their root systems. A tree canopy slows the rainwater with its leaves allowing the soil to become fully saturated with water. The tree is then able to absorb more rain water and reduce run-off entering the sewer system.Learn More