Clean water is priceless
We can’t put a price tag on clean water. It’s an essential ingredient that sustains our well-being, nourishes a healthy environment, and enhances our economic vitality.
The quality of life we enjoy depends on having a clean, abundant supply. But a lot of us don’t realize how our daily routines can have an impact on water quality.
Keeping clean water flowing into our homes and businesses means keeping our waterways clean. It’s extremely important because all of our creeks drain into the Trinity River – the main source of drinking water for millions of Texans, including us.
Sources of pollution: urban runoff
Did you know that the Environmental Protection Agency reports that more than 50% of the nation’s waterways sampled are classified as impaired? One of the key sources of water pollution is urban runoff. And the actions we take or don’t take are what makes it so bad.
Urban runoff is the water that flows over our lawns, streets, and parking lots after it rains. It picks up harmful substances along the way – like oil, pesticides, fertilizers, bacteria, dirt and trash – and washes them into storm drains. And unlike sanitary sewers, storm drains empty directly into the nearest body of water without filtration or treatment.
Choose clean, take action
Keeping North Texas waterways clean is something we all want. It’s a simple choice that takes some simple actions. Here are a few to get you started:
- Reverse Litter. Clean out your car. Pick up the trash that seems to linger after every kids’ sporting event. Don’t throw litter in the back of your pick-up. Go the extra few steps to find a trash can or recycle bin.
- Car Care. Wash your car at a commercial car wash – even biodegradable soaps are toxic to fish and wildlife. Recycle by taking used oil and anti-freeze to a repair shop. Take care of car leaks as soon as possible. Use absorbent materials that can be thrown away instead of “hosing down.”
- Lawn and Landscape Care. Use a mulching mower or blade and leave grass clippings on the lawn. Or try composting them to produce a nutrient rich soil mulch. Don’t blow or sweep yard waste down a storm drain. Pick up after your pets.
- Pesticides & Fertilizers. Use chemical pesticides as a last resort. Pesticides can kill creatures that benefit the environment, as well. Apply recommended amounts – twice as much does not do twice the job. Use slow release fertilizers. Don’t apply before it rains – chemicals may be washed down a storm drain and become a serious threat to creeks and wildlife.
- Household products. Read the label and follow directions for proper use and disposal. Purchase effective non-toxic, biodegradable, and recyclable products. Buy only the amount you need. Clean paint brushes (latex, or water-based paints) in the sink, not the street. Landfills are not designed for household chemicals – take unused portions to a chemical collection center or a household hazardous waste collection event.
Learn more about keeping our waterways clean from the following resources:
Keeping Our Creeks Clean Starts with You (Carrollton, TX)
Pollution 101 (Santa Monica, CA)
Protecting Water Quality from Urban Runoff (EPA)
After The Storm (EPA)
Stormwater Runoff – Chesapeake Bay Program