Unlike the water that goes down sinks and toilets, stormwater isn’t treated to remove harmful pollutants. It carries pollution off of our land directly into waterbodies. Each of us has an impact on our local lakes, streams, and rivers. Here are the top things you can do to in your own neighborhood to improve water quality.
Protect Storm Drains
These drains carry storm water or local waterways, including the St. Croix River. Used motor oil, detergents, lawn fertilizers, pesticides, and other contaminates get carried by stormwater to local waterways and cause unnecessary harm.
Fertilizer that washes into our waterways causes algae to bloom, harming fish and wildlife. If you need to use fertilizer, use only phosphorus-free products and sweep up any fertilizer that spills onto hard surfaces like driveways or streets.
Scoop the Poop
Pet waste is full of bacteria and other contaminants, and can run down the storm drains, spreading bacteria and nutrient pollution. Pick up after your pets wherever they go and don't let pet waste sit out on your lawn for extended periods of time.
Locally sourced and sustainably grown foods not only help support local economies, they also require considerably less resources, such as water for growing and fuel for transportation. Farms that work to improve soil health also improve water quality.
Reduce Hard Surfaces
The more hard surfaces there is, the more rain water will simply run off down the storm drains, picking up pollutants on the way. Allowing water to soak into the ground can prevent flooding, recharge groundwater supplies, and filter contaminants. Using permeable pavers, installing rain gardens, and planting native plants are great ways to reduce hard surfaces.
Be An Advocate
Talk to your neighbors about how they can help too and work with your local elected officials and water agencies to support local, state, and national policies that conserve water and stop pollution.