August is National Water Quality Month. You may shrug this off, thinking only big industry needs to be concerned about preserving water quality. However, while an individual household may not produce enough pollution to cause a problem, the combination of all of the houses in a community can severely pollute the water. And since half of the US population lives within 50 miles of a coast, runoff quickly flows to the ocean and pollutes water on a global scale.
The EPA reports that 40% of the waterways in the US have water quality problems. Unless we band together and take steps to improve water quality, individual communities and entire ecosystems could suffer.
What have you done so far this month to help ensure your home isn't contributing to water pollution? Here are some ideas to implement before August is over.
Avoid using antibacterial products
Overuse of antibiotics is leading to the formation of "super bugs," which are resistant to antibiotics. Plus, most antibiotic soap and cleaning products contain trichlosan, a pesticide known to harm aquatic life. Regular soap and warm water washes away germs effectively without using antibiotics to kill them.
Don't flush medicine down the toilet
Unneeded or expired medication doesn't disappear when you flush it down the drain. Instead, it contaminates the drinking water supply. Find out if your city or county has a program to collect unwanted pharmaceuticals.
If not, remove all labels and wrap medicine bottles in old newspaper before disposing of them in the garbage. You can also destroy the pills with water or vinegar before putting them in the trash to make sure no one else can take them.
Don't dump anything except water down storm drains
These drains transport water directly to local waterways. Dumping detergents, motor oil, pesticides, fertilizers and other contaminants causes unnecessary pollution.
Avoid pesticides and chemical fertilizers
These not only pose a serious threat to you and your family's health, but they also pollute surface and groundwater supplies for miles around.
Use non-toxic cleaning supplies
Common but highly toxic household products include:
- Disinfectants such as chlorine bleach and ammonia
- Laundry detergents containing phosphate
- Aerosol spray cans
- Artificial fragrances
- Chemical drain openers containing hydrochloric acid
Alternatives to these toxic products include:
- Hot water and soap
- Laundry soap products boosted with washing soda
- Spray bottles with pump dispensers
- Fragrance-free products
- BioChoicesES® is a superb alternative for residential drain cleaning.
Avoid paving your property
Water simply runs off of pavement and directly down storm drains, bringing pollutants with it and causing flooding during heavy rains. Maintain the soil on your property so water soaks through the ground, diluting contaminants on its way to groundwater aquifers.
August may be National Water Quality Month, but your efforts need to take place year-round if you hope to make a difference in your community. Let Mr. Rooter help you meet your water quality goals by clearing clogged drains without chemicals.