Protecting Mesquite's Water Quality

Sometimes, people pollute our waterways without even knowing it.  When it comes to our urban streams, the more you know, the cleaner the flow.

Mesquite has two types of drainage systems:  a sanitary sewer that carries sewage wastewater to a treatment plant and a storm drain that carries rain and other runoff directly to our streams.  Contaminated runoff, called non-point source pollution, is a major cause of pollution in Mesquite's waterways.  We can reduce the pollution by keeping waste such as litter, lawn care chemicals, and other waste out of our storm drains and storm water pipelines.

Applying fertilizer to the lawn at the proper time and in the proper amount can save time, effort and money through reduced mowing and watering. Fertilizers also can be a major source of pollution of streams and groundwater if excessive amounts are applied.

To grow properly, all plants need essential nutrients. Those that are typically needed in the greatest amounts are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. The best fertilizer for your lawn is one that contains the ratio of these three nutrients needed as indicated by your soil test results. All fertilizer packages must list three numbers (such as 15-5-10). These numbers-known as the fertilizer analysis-represent the percentage by weight of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in the fertilizer. Most soils in this area already have enough phosphorus and potassium. If your lawn does not need phosphorus and/or potassium, choose a fertilizer that provides only nitrogen.

Learn more on how to fertilize for warm season grasses

Fertilizer Use Recommendations

  • Apply only the recommended amount to needed areas, avoid driveways and sidewalks.
  • Water the fertilizer after application but do not over-water since that pollutes the runoff.
  • Get a soil test.  The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service performs soil tests for a minimal charge.  You provide the Service with a pint of dry soil without rocks, sticks and debris.  In two to three weeks, the Service will provide you with the soil sample results.  The test results show you what nutrients your soil needs so you can purchase the correct type ofertilizer.  For more information, contact the Texas AgriLife Extension Soil Testing Office  at (979) 845-4816,

How to Reduce Fertilizer Use

  • Choose plants that resist drought and enhance the growth of other plants.
  • Use a mulching mower and cut 1/3 of the height of the grass.  Clipped grass adds nutrients back into the soil.
  • Cut grass more often and only when it is dry.  Use sharp blades.
  • Compost yard waste and use it on flower beds and gardens.  Or bag grass clippings for pickup.  The City of Mesquite recycles all yard waste into compost and mulch at the City's Compost Facility.  Finished compost is available to Mesquite residents at no charge.  For questions please contact Solid Waste at 972-216-6285.
Caring for your lawn properly can both enhance its appearance and contribute to its environmental benefits.  Healthy grass provides feeding ground for birds, who find it a rich source of insects, worm and other foods.  Thick grass prevents soil erosion, filters contaminants from rainwater, and absorbs many types of airborne pollutants.  Grass also is highly efficient at converting carbon dioxide to oxygen, a process that helps clean the air.

Proper Disposal

Please take unused fertilizers to the Home Chemical Collection Center at 11234 Plano Road, Dallas, 75243.  For more information or hours of operation call (214) 553-1765. Mesquite residents must show proof of residency with driver's license or utility bill. 

Reporting Violations

Since foreign substances can pollute our waterways and cause flooding, you should never pour products down a drain, sewer or manhole.  It also is a violation of City Ordinance 3575, Water Pollution.  Do your part to keep the storm water drainage system clean.  If you spot a blocked drain or suspect illegal dumping of products in the storm water drainage system, call (972) 216-6276 for Code Enforcement or (972) 329-8537 for the Storm Water Specialist and the problem or concern will be investigated.

protect our storm drains