August is National Water Quality Month. This month is a great reminder to think about the importance of water sources and how vital they are not only to us, but to other inhabitants that rely on these ecosystems.
By recognizing how seemingly harmless actions you do on a routine basis can negatively affect our water supply and watersheds, you’ll hopefully make changes that will make a positive difference.
There are thousands of factors that can have negative impacts on water quality and our local watersheds including chemicals, pesticides, oils and a variety of pollutants.
We all need unpolluted freshwater so here are eight things you can do to protect our watersheds.
- Wash your car at a car wash: Taking your car to a car wash saves water and prevents toxic chemicals from being flushed down storm drains that eventually empty into our lakes, rivers, streams, and oceans.
- Pick up after your pet: Pet waste is chock full of nitrogen which can deplete oxygen from the water leaving it totally unusable for aquatic life.
- Don’t hose off your driveway, sidewalk or porch: It’s a complete waste of water and can wash chemicals into our waterways. Use a broom instead.
- Don’t use fertilizer made with phosphorus: After watering or heavy rainfall, these chemicals can leak into nearby groundwater sources including watersheds. Instead, use organic materials or wait for drier weather if you need to use lawn care products.
- Take used oil or antifreeze to a recycling center or service station: These toxic chemicals can easily make their way into our watersheds.
- Use a rain barrel to collect rainwater: Not only will a rain barrel save money, you can repurpose the rainwater for watering your lawn or garden.
- Do not flush expired or unwanted medication down the toilet: Most medications have toxic chemicals that can harm our water supply.
- Plant trees to prevent erosion: Roots take up water and create conditions in the soil that help with runoff.