Waterwise Wednesday: National Water Quality Month

Photo © Jinfeng Zhang

August is National Water Quality Month when we focus on protecting fresh water sources. Protect water quality from pollution of the top six surface water pollutants:

• Vehicles: Fix leaks right away to prevent fluids from seeping into the ground.

• Petwaste: Pick up and properly dispose in the trash or toilet. Animal waste contains nitrogen which can remove oxygen from the water as it degrades, harming aquatic life.

• Yardwaste: Sweep clippings out back on the lawn. Yardwaste can clog storm sewer systems.

• Fertilizer: Use only when necessary and according to the directions. Heavy rainfall or watering can cause these chemicals to leak into groundwater sources. Try using organic fertilizers like compost or mulch instead of commerical fertilizer.

• Sediment: Avoid paving your properties which creates more runoff. Plant native trees and plants to hold soil in place and infiltrate water. Reuse clippings as mulch or compost to protect exposed soil.

• Litter: Reduce, reuse, and recycle to lessen waste. Get trash in the trash can and recycle plastics.

Waterwise Wednesday: A Mower’s Lament

Yardwaste ranks as one of the top five surface water pollutants in the United States. Clippings in storm drains create nutrient overload that feed algal blooms and bacteria. The bacteria, who breathe dissolved oxygen in the water, decrease oxygen enough to kill off fish, aquatic insects, and other aquatic plants. This results in a hypoxic area, or dead zone, in the water.

Put grass clippings to better use:

– sweep or blow them back on the lawn for natural fertilizer
– use as mulch in the garden or a weed blanket along the alley
– compost it
– put in the yardwaste dumpster and the let the City compost it at the Yardwaste Facility