Stormwater pollution is categorized into two groups: point source and non-point source. Point source pollution comes from industrial businesses and sewage treatment facilities, and is monitored by government permit. Non-point source pollution is contributed by homes, businesses and farms. Non-point source pollution is important to us since we are the cause, and we can stop it! Pointless Personal Pollution is caused by many of our day-to-day activities, and is washed into the state’s waters by irrigation and rain runoff. Some examples of these pollutants are:
•Soil erosion caused by a lack of ground cover.
•Uncontrolled construction activities.
•Automotive and lawn equipment oil leaks, degreasers, and improper disposal of used oils.
•Yard trash, especially piled onto, or placed near a storm inlet.
•Grass clippings blown into the street.
•Garbage not cleaned up around dumpsters and garbage cans.
•Pet and livestock wastes.
•Sewer and septic overflows.
Pollution Affect Us in Many Ways:
Nutrients from septic tanks, fertilizers and animal wastes cause excessive growth of algae and aquatic weeds. Many of our boaters are dismayed at finding these weeds tangled in their propellers! Sewage, litter and garbage reduce oxygen levels in the water, killing aquatic life. Sediments from soil erosion clog fish gills suffocating them. Pesticides and heavy metals contaminate water body sediments and kill aquatic life. How do we go about improving our waters individually?
Easy, Important Ways to Help Us Reduce Pointless Personal Pollution:
- We can start by shopping wisely. Buy products that are labeled non-toxic, biodegradable, non-phosphorus, or water soluble.
- Store products safely by keeping toxic products in their original containers and keep them in safe places that cannot be accessed by children or pets.
- Properly maintain septic systems by annual inspections, pump out as needed and avoid disposing caustic cleaners, chemicals or solvents, as they destroy beneficial bacteria and clog absorption fields.
- Do not place yard clippings, branches or other debris on top of the storm drain. Grass clippings left on the grass make excellent mulch, while blowing clippings into the street add to pollution of the lakes and canals.
- Service vehicles and lawn equipment regularly, and dispose of used oils and antifreeze at the local service station.
- Find your roof drains and route the water away from your driveway towards a grassy part of your yard.
- Fertilize with a low nitrogen mix, and don’t apply it before the rains – most of it will runoff and the benefit to your lawn will be lost. Spray pesticides infrequently, using an eco-friendly substitute.
- Wash your car in the grass, not in your driveway. Soap will act as a safe pesticide for your lawn, but not safe for your canal or lake.
- Never pour anything down an inlet, no matter how harmless it may seem to you. These systems are intended for rainwater only!
These simple steps will go a long way to help keep our canals, lakes and ground water clean.