30 Ways to Keep Your Water Clean
Did you know?
- The United States has 3.5 million miles of river to protect and enjoy.
- 1 out of 3 people in the U.S. gets their drinking water from a river or stream.
- Of the 1,200+ species listed as threatened or endangered, 50% depend on rivers and streams
Rivers supply our drinking water; irrigate our crops; power our cities; support fish and other aquatic species; and provide countless recreational and commercial opportunities. In celebration of National Rivers Month, here’s a list of including fixing leaky faucets, cleaning up after pets, installing rain barrels.
30 easy actions you can take to keep your streams clean:
- Only rain belongs in the drain- don’t dump anything in your sewers you wouldn’t drink.
- Use a sponge and bucket instead of a hose when washing your car – and try to wash it on a permeable surface.
- Water your yard first thing in the morning.
- Don’t overwater your lawn.
- Install rain sensors on irrigation systems.
- Install a rain barrel for outdoor watering.
- Plant a rain garden for catching storm water runoff from your roof, driveway, and other hard surfaces.
- Use lawn or garden chemicals sparingly.
- Mow your lawn less often.
- Sweep your sidewalks instead of hosing them down.
- Plant native, low maintenance plants and grasses.
- Minimize the amount of ice-melt you use.
- Consider minimizing impervious surfaces like bricks, gravel, natural stone or permeable pavers around your home.
- Do not drain your pool, spa, or fountain to a storm drain.
- Turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth.
- Take a shower instead of a bath.
- Only run the washing machine and dishwasher when you have a full load.
- Use high-efficiency washing machines.
- Wash your clothes in the correct load size—with cold water.
- Use a low flow shower head and faucet aerators.
- Fix leaks.
- Install a dual flush or low flow toilet or put a conversion kit on your existing toilet.
- Upgrade your water heating systems, including water heater, pumps and pipes.
- Monitor your water usage on your water bill and ask your local government about a home water audit.
- Keep your car well-maintained.
- Keep your septic system well-maintained to prevent leaks.
- Walk, bike, or share a ride when possible.
- Participate in a stream or river clean up near you.
- Share your water saving through conservation and efficiency tips with your neighbors.
- Teach your kids how to be good stewards.
Volunteers test for pollution in the South Fork Cactoctin Creek at Water Quality Day on the Chapman DeMary Trail.
It was a beautiful early summer day for The Nature Generation’s annual Water Quality Day at the Chapman DeMary Trail! Citizen scientists enthusiastically helped experts catch and count creek creatures–benthic macrointervetbrates- which helps determine the health of the creek. People learned about how much energy it takes to clean water with the Loudoun County Public Schools Energy Education team, turned in plastic bags to trail sponsor Maid Brigade to be recycled into a bench, learned about trees and water quality from the Loudoun County Tree Stewards, purchased native plants for their own gardens from Watermark Woods; and learned about trends in water quality at the South Fork Catoctin Creek from Josh McGhee, a college student who conducted an analysis of the data collected in the past few years.
One of the two groups working with the benthic macroinvertebrates used an app developed through the Audubon Naturalist Society to help identify the critters. After identifying them, that information was used to help determine the health of the creek, which was great. You can download this free app on your smart phone through the Apple App store of Google Play. Look for Creek Critters. It is fun and easy to use, and helps track these creatures which are a great way to understand the health of our waterways.
Thank you also to all of the experts and organizations, including Gem Bingol with the Piedmont Environmental Council, Gregg Triling with the Audubon Naturalist Society, David Manning with Loudoun Wildife Conservancy, Sarah Alli with Loudoun Watershed Watch; Loudoun County Tree Stewards; Loudoun County Public Schools Energy Education Team; Maid Brigade and Watermark Woods. Thank you also to our special guests Josh McGhee, Debi McGhee, Nancy Reaves, and Patti Yarbrough. Thank you also our trail partners: Piedmont Environmental Council, Loudoun Valley High School, and the Town of Purcellville.