Water Safety- It Begins with YOU!
We’ve all seen it: plastic bags, beverage bottles and cans, cigarette butts, diapers, and more on the sides of our roads, on our sidewalks, and in our parks. Did you know that when it rains it pollutes, and it all starts in your neighborhood? The water that doesn’t soak into the soil flows across our yards, streets, and sidewalks into the storm drains on your street. As the water travels to the storm drain, it picks up any pollutants in its path like grass clippings, plastic trash, pet waste, motor oil, pesticides, and more. Unlike the water that goes down your drain to the sewer, water that flows into storm drains is not treated and filtered for pollutants. Instead, this contaminated water flows into streams and lakes, and eventually ends up in the ocean.
We have a duty to protect water not only for ourselves, but for our future generations. You ARE able to make a difference with your day-to-day actions that don’t require anything other than a thought. Once trash and other pollutants get into our waterways, they are near impossible to completely remove, which is why it is so important for everyone to be aware of our effects on the water we use in our everyday lives.
What Can You Do?
When mowing the yard, do not blow clippings into the street or onto paved surfaces. Just 5 bags worth of leaves have enough phosphorus in them to create 1,000 lbs. of algae growth in lakes and creeks.
If you see litter and trash in your neighborhood, pick it up and properly dispose of it. Securing your garbage can lids can reduce your trash impact!
Reduce stormwater runoff by using a rain barrel, and directing downspouts onto your lawn or a rain garden! (A resource guide on starting an Eco-Lawn will be coming soon)
Do not dispose of yard waste, motor oil, soap suds, dirt, or pet waste down the storm drain. Washing cars on the grass in your yard or in an auto-mated car wash will keep the phosphates from enter-ing streams and rivers
As a dog owner, do your duty and scoop up their waste and dispose of it in your trash. Pet waste contains A LOT of bacteria and parasites that are a health threat to people and wildlife, as well as contain nutrients that cause algae blooms.
When putting fertilizer or pesticides on your lawn or garden, be sure to follow the directions on the bag. Avoid putting anything on your yard immediately before it rains.
Organize or participate in a trash cleanup near a water source.
Find a watershed or wellhead protection organization or a source water collaborative in your community and volunteer to help. This resource can help you get started.
Our Challenge To You: Adopt A Drain!
Volunteer fifteen minutes, twice a month, for cleaner waterways and healthier communities. Storm drains flow directly to local lakes, rivers, and wetlands, acting as a conduit for trash and organic pollutants. Adopt a Drain asks residents to adopt a storm drain in their neighborhood and keep it clear of leaves, trash, and other debris to reduce water pollution.
All you have to do is go to this website, enter your address, and adopt as many drains in your neighborhood as you want! You can see who else in your community is protecting their storm drains, as well as how much trash has been saved from entering the waterways in your community.
Once you sign up, try to set a goal to get 3 more people you know to Adopt A Drain! Share photos of you cleaning your own drain to get others inspired, and to show them how quick and easy it is to make a HUGE difference.
More Ways To Get Informed:
View an extremely eye opening map with statistics on every county in the US that has drinking water safety violations. It also provides a comprehensive description of how the chemicals that can get in our drinking water affect our health.
Click here to learn about the annual amount of rainwater and frequency of runoff from your home, or any area in the United States! The estimates are based on local soil conditions, land cover, and historic rainfall. You can use this information to see how you can reduce the amount of storm water runoff from your own property.
**Also, please pick up cigarette butts if you ever see them! The butts alone contain 162 toxic chemicals that just wash into our lakes and streams.