Clean Water Tips
Every time you turn on the faucet, you have a local waterway to thank for the clean water that comes flowing out. And every time your kids or pets play in a river or lake, they're enjoying rainwater that landed on a home, business, street, or sidewalk somewhere upstream from your location.
When our ancestors first built their mills in this area, those waterways were surrounded by vast forests and the waterways were sparkling clean. But today, our waterways are surrounded by buildings, roads, parking lots, and farm fields. And our waterways just aren't as clean as they could be. But if everybody does their part and takes some simple steps to make a difference, our rivers could be clean and sparkling again!
Want more tips? Visit Mystic River Watershed Association Site.
Scoop Your Dog's Poop
You hate stepping in it. And fish hate swimming in it, too! Regularly scoop your dog's poop from public areas AND your back yard, before it washes into our waterways.
Pet waste left on grass or sidewalks doesn't stay there. Every time it rains, the waste breaks down and washes into our rivers. You can put the waste in those handy pet waste stations that are popping up everywhere, though any outside trash can is just fine.
Catch Your Rain
Capture the rain that falls on your property in a rain barrel, rain garden, or on the leaves of your trees and shrubs. You'll reduce flooding and keep our waterways clean.
When rainwater runs across dirty areas (like streets, sidewalks, and construction sites), it carries that pollution into our waterways. When you keep that water onsite, you can use it yourself or let it soak into the ground or evaporate, instead of picking up trash and pollution on its way to the nearest waterway.
Test Your Soil & Read Your Fertilizer Labels
Test your soil to determine what it needs. The University of Massachusetts will test your soil for a small fee. If you need to use fertilizer, slow release and phosphorous-free fertilizer are safer for the environment.
Read the label before you apply fertilizer - make sure it contains the nutrients your soil needs, and set your spreader to the correct setting. If you use too much fertilizer, the excess will just wash away in the next rain, polluting your local waterways.
And if your yard doesn't need fertilizer, there's plenty that you can do each spring to keep it healthy. You can spread fresh grass seed, aerate your soil, and plant some of those native shrubs you've been eyeing.
Mulch, Compost or Bag Your Grass
- Use a mulching blade on your lawn mower and add the nutrients from the cut grass back into the soil
- Compost your lawn clippings to make a natural fertilizer for your garden.
- Bag your grass clippings for curbside pickup.
But whatever you do, don't dump them in a storm drain or leave them on the sidewalk!
When grass clippings decay on your lawn or in your composter, that's healthy fertilizer. But when they rot in our streams, that's water pollution!
Compost or Bag Your Leaves
In the fall and spring, compost your leaves to make a natural fertilizer for your garden. Or bag your grass clippings for curbside pickup. But whatever you do, don't dump them in a storm drain or leave them on the sidewalk!
When leaves decay in your composter, that's healthy fertilizer. But when they rot in our streams, that's water pollution!