10 Tips for Source Water Protection | Regional Water Providers Consortium

10 Tips for Source Water Protection

10 tips for source water protection

Everyday activities we do at home, from cleaning the kitchen to washing the car, can pollute local waterways. Not only does this harm the environment, but it affects our drinking water supply and can make us, our children, and our pets sick. Fortunately, there are easy ways to help protect our region’s water at the source. Do your part to help keep our waterways healthy with these 10 tips: 

  1. Dispose of household chemicals, fats, oil, and grease (FOGs), paint, and prescription medications the right way – none of these should go down the drain! Check for local recycling programs, drug take-back events, and freeze your grease instead of pouring it in your sink.  
  2. Keep your car maintained to prevent brake fluid, oil, grease, coolant, and antifreeze leaks. Use a drip pan until repairs can be made. 
  3. Use natural methods to control weeds and insects in your landscape. If you use garden chemicals, be sure to only spray on calm, dry days. Toxic chemicals can wash into local waterways, unintentionally harming plants and animals. 
  4. Wait until fall to fertilize your lawn. Use slow-release, OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute) labeled fertilizer or compost once a year in fall. Overfertilizing causes harmful algal blooms (HABs) that impact our water supply and our ability to fish, swim, and boat in local streams and lakes. Get more water-safe gardening tips
  5. Drain and backwash pools and hot tubs onto your lawn or a sewer cleanout pipe, not street drains. Pool and spa chemicals are harmful to fish and other animals that depend on clean streams and rivers. 
  6. Clean up after your pet by bagging pet waste and putting it into a trash can. Pet poop has germs that can make dogs and people sick. When it is washed into local waterways, pet waste can make algae to grow which is unhealthy for plants and animals that live there. 
  7. Take your car to a commercial car wash that recycles and filters its wastewater. If you prefer washing your car by hand, use phosphate-free soap and a shut-off nozzle for your hose. Make sure the soapy water doesn’t run into storm drains – instead divert it into your lawn with some old towels. Get more safe car wash tips
  8. Next time you purchase cleaning supplies and other household chemicals, choose an environmentally-friendly product. Use the EPA list of Safer Choice Standard certified products to find supplies for your home or business. 
  9. Sweep paved areas rather than hosing them down. It will prevent dirt, chemicals, and household debris (like leaves) from washing into storm drains and clogging pipes. Another way to reduce runoff is to create a rain garden or redirect stormwater into your garden area rather than a storm drain.
  10. Wipes clog pipes! “Flushable” wipes aren’t actually flushable and can clog pipes and cause expensive repairs to homeowners and sewer backups at wastewater treatment plants. Put moist wipes, disinfecting wipes, baby wipes, facial tissues, and paper towels in the garbage can.