When we turn on a faucet at our homes or businesses, we take for granted that it’s clean and safe to use, but during Drinking Water Week, May 6-12 in Michigan and nationally, we need to consider the role we, as water consumers, have in ensuring a reliable and clean supply.
“Protect the Source” is this year’s national Drinking Water Week theme, not only because we should know where our tap water comes from, but because clean water starts at its source and if we contaminate it, whether knowingly or not, it is expensive to treat and sometimes difficult to remove.
Lack of information is often the culprit when homeowners and businesses pollute their own water sources. But each of us can follow a few simple steps to protect our waters:
- Avoid littering our rivers and lakes.
- Instead of pouring paint, used oil, chemical cleaners and similar household items down the drain, take advantage of local recycling programs that will dispose of such items properly.
- Use gravel, stones, wood or other porous materials on your property to reduce stormwater runoff, which often contains contaminants. Rather than flushing nondegradable products, such as baby wipes or feminine hygiene products, in the toilet, dispose of them in the trash.
- Use environmentally friendly lawn care and household cleaning agents.
- Scoop up pet waste from yards before the bacteria-laden material can run into storm drains and water supplies.