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August is National Water Quality Month

This month we take a moment to think about not only the need for clean water for our families, but how important of an issue this is for our ecosystems.  While a single household is not likely to produce enough pollution to make a major impact on a body of water, households across the country can work together to help ensure our water sources remain clean.  One of the biggest water quality issues is the presence of chemicals.  Sometimes these chemicals are put directly into the water system during disposal, and other times they are picked up through the natural water cycle. 

Fortunately, there are numerous ways you can help keep chemicals out of the rivers and oceans, and most of them only require a little extra thought about what we are contributing to the environment.

  • Don’t use antibacterial cleaners or soaps.  These are great for keeping germs out of your home, but can be poisonous to fish and other aquatic life.
  • Dispose of outdated medications properly.  Flushing medicine down the toilet is a common practice, but it contributes to the antibiotics that are already heavily present in our water systems.  Many communities have programs for collecting unwanted pharmaceuticals.
  • Take used oil and other household chemicals to a proper disposal location.  Many cities have disposal events several times a year for this type of waste.
  • Check your car regularly for fluid leaks and have them fixed right away.  This will not only keep your car running smoothly but also prevent oils and fluids from being spread throughout the community and eventually washing into the storm drain system.
  • Avoid paving your property.  Water that runs across pavement and into the storm drains brings pollutants with it.  Allowing water to soak into the ground can increase the supply of groundwater, reduce the amount of pollution that reaches waterways, and decrease flooding.

 Reducing the amount of chemicals and other pollutants in our water is easy, and only requires small lifestyle changes.  The EPA reports that 40% of waterways are suffering from water quality issues, so this is a problem that should be addressed right away.  Share this information with your friends and neighbors to let them know how they can help as well.  Together we can create a cleaner world!