Water covers most of the Earth, exists in the cracks and crevices beneath the earth's surface, makes up most of the human body, and is vital for all living things. Needless to say, clean water is important. During a month when everyone is out enjoying lakes, rivers, oceans and having tall glasses of ice-cold water, it becomes even more apparent how important quality water is. August is National Water Quality Month. How can you have an impact on water quality? Here are some ways you can be part of the solution:
1. Don't flush medications.
Never flush old or unused medications down your toilet or the sink. Pipes can lead back into a general water source which then gets contaminated with your medication. Find a local take-back location (Nebraskans - you can take medications back to a participating pharmacy any time!), or utilize the DEA's take-back days in October and April.
2. Don’t hose off the driveway.
Always sweep your driveway to keep it clean, rather than using the hose. When washing your car, use a commercial car wash whenever possible rather than doing it yourself at home. When chemicals run down your driveway into the storm drain they flow directly into lakes and streams.
3. Pick up the poop.
Yep, it may be gross, but when it rains, that water picks up poop particles from your pet and it may be deposited into lakes, rivers, or streams. Nobody wants that - pick up your pet's poop.
4. Watch out for litter.
We all know to avoid littering, but go a step further and keep an eye out for any litter wherever you go. Whenever possible, pick it up and put it in the proper disposable bin.
5. Follow instructions when using any chemicals.
Pesticides and fertilizers can have a proper use, but avoid overusing them whenever possible. The chemicals can travel through runoff water and soil, thus contaminating ground water. Follow label instructions carefully!
6. Stay phosphate-free.
Help save our lakes and rivers by choosing nontoxic household products, and using phosphate-free items like detergent.
7. Join a cleanup project.
If you want to go a step beyond preventative care, be proactive by joining a local or national clean up project that works on water. This is a great project for a Groundwater Guardian team! No team in your area? Get one started!
8. Educate yourself.
Finally, take some time this month to educate yourself on what’s actually in your water, the quality of your water and how it can further be improved. Knowledge is power, and the more knowledgeable you are, the more you can make a difference.
Water sustains life - it’s vitally important to all of us. This August, celebrate National Water Quality Month by being aware of your water habits and taking steps to ensure clean water for everyone. When we have clean water, we can lead satisfying lives.
Want more ideas? See what else you can do.
Adapted from Firespring.org