Some of the most common household activities can have an unhealthy impact on our water quality, from washing the car to killing weeds. Each time it rains, stormwater, or water not absorbed by the ground, carries pollutants into our waters. Here are some tips to help keep our waters clean.
Agriculture & Lawn Care
- Manage animal waste to minimize contamination or surface water and ground water, and obey local animal waste laws.
- Keep leaves, grass clippings and other debris away from storm drains, gutters and waterways. These outlets drain directly into lakes, streams and rivers and can contribute to harmful algae blooms and fish kills.
- Run your mower with the vent closed. Clippings left on the lawn can dramatically reduce the need for additional nitrogen (from fertilizers).
- Choose plants, trees and other landscaping elements that will do well in your area with little watering.
- Start a compost pile of leaves and grass clippings to serve as a naturally rich fertilizer and mulch. Otherwise, bag leaves and grass and set out for pick-up.
- Whenever possible, protect drinking water by using less pesticides and fertilizers.
- Dispose of pesticides, containers and tanks according to directions on containers.
- If you spill an engine degreaser, oil, brake fluid, tire cleaner or anti-freeze, do not hose it off. It will then eventually reach local streams and lakes. Instead, sprinkle sawdust, cornmeal, cat litter or a commercial absorbent over the spill. Let soak and sweep up.
- Consider taking your car to a car wash or washing it on the grass, where the ground can absorb water and pollutants can be filtered.
- Fix any car leaks to avoid contaminating our watershed with oil. One quart of motor oil can contaminate up to 2 million gallons of water.
- Dispose of oil, antifreeze, paints and other household chemicals properly and according to instructions on containers.
Conservation & Prevention
- Save hundreds of gallons of water with ease by putting a spray nozzle on your hose and turning off the hose between rinses.
- Ask carpet cleaners, painters and contractors how they keep pollutants from entering the groundwater system.
- Before draining swimming pool, let the water stand until it no longer contains chlorine and other pool cleaners.
- Clean and maintain boats away from water. Use a drop cloth and vacuum paint chips and dust.
- Fuel up cars and boats carefully.