This week is Stormwater Awareness Week and you can be the change for clean water! On average we receive about 37 inches of rainfall each year. While rainwater is great for lawns, gardens and trees, it also has the power to move pollutants into our storm drains and road ditches where it then reaches our streams, rivers and lakes. How can you help? Here are some tips so you can be the change for clean water!
• Lawn and garden equipment can be sources of pollution if not properly maintained. Such equipment can be expensive to purchase and dangerous to operate if not in tiptop shape. You can extend the life of your equipment and keep water clean by accessing this informative article by Consumer Reports, www.consumerreports.org/cro/2013/07/maintaining-your-lawn-and-garden-equipment/index.htm.
• Fall is officially here and trees are starting to lose their leaves. Mulching the leaves keeps them out of the storm sewer and road ditch, blocks weeds, and helps them break down fast into free fertilizer for your lawn.
• Follow the 4Rs – right rate, right source, right time, and right place when using fertilizers for lawns and gardens. By following label directions and keeping fertilizer on the area where it belongs, you keep nutrients where they are needed and out of our waterbodies. Excess nutrients can lead to unsightly algal growth and even to harmful algal blooms in our streams, rivers, and lakes.
• Plant a tree. Trees draw moisture from the soil, thereby increasing the soil’s ability to store rain water. Trees diminish the impact of raindrops on bare soil, reducing soil erosion. Root growth and decomposition increase the capacity and rate of soil infiltration by rainfall and curtail surface flow.
• Properly dispose of garbage. Better yet, recycle. Surface water has the ability to wash litter into storm drains and road ditches. Those of us of a certain age may remember Woodsy Owl, mascot of the U.S. Forest Service who famously said, “Give a hoot, don’t pollute.”
• Take advantage of the Delaware/Knox/Marion/Morrow Solid Waste District’s special collection days. Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018 at the Delaware County Fairgrounds will be DKMM’s last collection of the year, targeting household hazardous waste and paint. All of the details can be found at dkmm.org.
You can be part of the solution to pollution! For help with surface water drainage problems, contact Delaware Soil & Water Conservation District for assistance at 740-368-1921 or www.delawareswcd.org.
Bonnie Dailey is deputy director of the Delaware Soil & Water Conservation District. For information, go to www.delawareswcd.org.