Water Quality Improvement Through Community Campus Partnerships

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Did You Know?

Washing your car at a commercial car wash is better for the health of your watershed.

It's true. Commercial car wash is the best choice. Washing your car in the yard would be the next best option because the soap and grime could soak into the soil and be filtered, but if too much soap is used and/or too much oil and other chemicals are washed off your car, you may kill the grass.

A garden hose can supply enough water to send pollutants toward streams, wetlands and lakes.

Storm water is defined as water from rain or melting snow that doesn't soak into the ground. But can also be water that flows over rooftops, pavement, bare soil and through sloped lawns and fields, and even water from a garden hose.

After entering a storm drain water is not always carried to a wastewater treatment plant.

In many areas, storm drains lead directly to a lake or stream. Some communities may have a combined sewage/stormwater discharge system. During low intensity rainfall events all water (sewage and stormwater) goes to the waste water treatment plant for treatment. But during periods of high rainfall, raw sewage and stormwater are discharged directly into the nearest body of water.

Recycling used motor oil at the local auto supply store, gas station or hazardous waste station tremendously helps your watershed.

Why? One quart of motor oil can pollute 250,000 gallons of river water. Did you know recycling just one gallon of used oil can generate enough electricity to run the average household for almost 24 hours! Check if local auto supply stores, gas stations and recycling facilities will accept your used oil. And, never pour leftover oil down a storm drain.

Which of these practices is most important for preventing car pollutant run-off from getting into rivers (i.e. your drinking water)?

a. Check your vehicle for drips and oil leaks regularly.
b. Fix car leaks promptly.
c. Keep your vehicle tuned to reduce oil use.

The answer is all of the above. Leaky cars leave drips or puddles of motor oil and other fluids on our streets and driveways. These contaminants run down the street when it rains, enter the storm drains and end up in the river. You can help keep your watershed clean by keeping your vehicle tuned to reduce oil and to keep it from leaking. If a leak is spotted, fix the problem right away. Clean up spills immediately and properly dispose of cleanup materials.

Grazing, boating and habitat degradation are all potential sources of non-point source (NPS) pollution.

NPS pollution is widespread because it can occur any time activities disturb the land or water. Agriculture, forestry, grazing, septic systems, recreational boating, urban runoff, construction, physical changes to stream channels, and habitat degradation are all potential sources of NPS pollution.

A TMDL, or Total Maximum Daily Load, is a critical program for achieving healthy watersheds and clean water.

A TMDL is the amount of a pollutant that a waterbody can receive and still meet water quality standards. It is reported that over 40 percent of assessed waters are too polluted for fishing or swimming.

*Adapted from the Conservation Technology Information Center