Protect Your Water Source

Protect Your water Source!Try the Blue Thumb Basics of protecting your water source:
  • Learn where your drinking water comes from. Find out what activities occur in these areas that may contaminate the source of your drinking water.

  • Reduce the amount of lawn chemicals and other garden toxins you use. Select alternatives to toxic products. Fertilizers and pesticides can contaminate drinking water by eventually running off into lakes and rivers or seeping into groundwater.

  • Read and follow the manufacturer's directions when measuring and mixing pesticides. Avoid using more pesticide than is recommended. Use pesticides that are less likely to leach into groundwater. Avoid mixing or using pesticides near a drinking water well.

  • Use phosphate-free detergents. Phosphates increase algae growth and deplete the amount of oxygen in our lakes, marshes and streams.

  • Take used motor oil and other toxic automobile fluids to a service station that advertises collection for reprocessing. A single quart of motor oil can pollute 250,000 gallons of water.

  • Reduce your need for disposable household batteries by using rechargeable batteries. Full of toxic metals such as lead, mercury and cadmium, household batteries should not be thrown into your regular trash.

  • Ask stores that sell watches and cameras to return your used button batteries so they can be recycled.

  • Give left-over paint and solvents to a friend or donate them to a community group.

  • Support recycling by patronizing service stations and retail stores that accept automotive batteries for recycling.

  • Use a manual method to rid cracks in concrete spaces of grass and weeds instead of pouring on gasoline. One gallon of gasoline can pollute 750,000 gallons of water.

  • Take left-over pool chemicals, wood preservatives, photographic chemicals and paint strippers to a proper hazardous waste disposal facility.

  • Many items found commonly in the home, such as floor polish, oven cleaner, furniture polish, spot remover, metal polish and car wax should never be poured down the sink, put out with the or dumped in the gutter. Save these items for the next hazardous waste collection day.

  • Support protection projects for true wetland areas near your source of drinking water. These areas help keep our water clean.

  • Have private wells tested regularly for contaminants.

  • Have abandoned wells sealed by a licensed well contractor to prevent the groundwater from becoming contaminated.

  • Have septic systems pumped out every one to three years by a qualified service.

  • Remove or replace underground tanks on your property if they are leaking. Consider above-ground storage instead.

  • Have drinking water tested for lead if you suspect your home has lead pipes or solder and is less than eight years old. Run your tap until the water is cold before using it for drinking or cooking if you suspect lead could be a problem in your home. Use cold water heated on the stove instead of hot water from the tap to prepare baby formula and convenience foods that call for hot water. Hot water picks up metals from the household plumbing or solder as it travels through.