Sunday, July 22, 2007

Quality of water

Stormwater Quality

The health of a stream depends on the quality of the water that flows through it. To care for the stream, we must also care for all the land that drains to it—its watershed.

Everything in the watershed affects the water in the stream. Hazardous chemicals, automotive products, pesticides, fertilizers, pet wastes, excessive soil erosion and air pollution all contribute to water pollution. image of stormwater run off and pollution that can occur These pollutants don't have to be dumped directly into the water to cause a problem. They are washed from streets, lawns, roofs and even out of the air by rainfall—eventually ending up in wetlands, streams and lakes.

The storm drain or gutter in the street outside your home carries water into a network of storm drains that lead directly to the Cache la Poudre River. Storm drains are separate from the sewer system-which handles wastewater from your sinks, tubs and toilets-and does not go to a treatment plant but into our streams, rivers and lakes.

Resulting impacts of water pollution can range from the obvious, such as oil floating on the water to losses of wildlife due to habitat destruction that often goes unnoticed.

Everyone has a part in protecting our watershed and preventing water pollution. While the contribution of one home to water pollution may be small, the combined effect of an entire neighborhood or city can be substantial. Here are some suggestions:

  • Use chemical fertilizers and pesticides sparingly. When applied excessively, they can be washed into a nearby storm drain by your sprinklers or rain-damaging aquatic life. Even lawn clippings contain these pollutants. Leave them on the lawn as natural fertilizer or compost them.
  • Keep automobiles in good condition and drive as little as possible. This helps keep oil and air pollution out of water sources. Wash cars (pdf) at commercial car washes that drain to the treatment plants instead of your driveway that drains to the creeks.
  • Dispose of hazardous household wastes such as paints, solvents, used oil and cleaning products properly. Residential hazardous waste is accepted from Larimer County residents at no charge from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and the second and third Saturdays of the month. Business or commercial hazardous wastes are accepted at low cost through the Business Hazardous Waste Assistance Program by appointment only.

The choice is ours—do we want a watershed that keeps our steams, rivers and lakes healthy or a watershed that struggles to survive?

searched by susanne chi

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