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Businesses, institutions, churches and medical facilities all play a role in protecting our local waterways. Check out these housekeeping tips for ways to reduce your contribution to stormwater pollution. You can also contact the GLRC to partner in educating your staff and customers on pollution prevention.
All of us play in a role in keeping our watersheds healthy! Check out these GLRC resources to learn what you can do to reduce stormwater pollution.
Properly Disposing of Household Hazardous Waste
When not stored, used, or disposed of properly, household hazardous waste pollutes our waterways through stormwater runoff. Household cleaners, paints, automotive fluids and more should be recycled at a household hazardous waste event or designated collection facility.
Be Stormwater Smart: Use Lawn Fertilizers Properly
Fertilizer isn’t a problem if it’s used carefully. But if you use too much or apply it at the wrong time, it can easily wash off your lawn or garden and into storm drains. From there, it flows into our rivers, streams, wetlands, and lakes without undergoing treatment. Just like in your garden, fertilizers make aquatic plants grow. But while fertilizer may help our lawns, excess phosphorus and nitrogen in waterways causes algae to grow faster than aquatic ecosystems can handle. Large algal blooms reduce oxygen levels, increase toxicity, and spur bacterial growth, making the water unsafe for human recreation and aquatic life. By properly applying and limiting usage of lawn fertilizer, you can help protect our surface water resources from nutrient pollution.
5 Reasons YOU Should Install a Rain Barrel!
Rain barrels are a great way to capture and reuse runoff from your roof! Not only can you save money by using it to water your plants, you're reducing the volume of runoff that would normally wash pollutants like lawn fertilizers and bacteria off yards and into streams.
The Greater Lansing Regional Committee for Stormwater Management
The Greater Lansing Regional Committee for Stormwater Management (GLRC) is a guiding body comprised of Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) communities within the Greater Lansing Region. The committee has been established to guide the implementation of the stormwater program for participating communities within the Grand River, the Red Cedar River and the Looking Glass River watersheds. Learn more about us, stormwater management, and watershed protection at www.MyWatersheds.org
Picking Up After Pets for Clean Water
Pet waste isn’t just a nuisance in yards and parks, it’s full of bacteria that can make people and aquatic habitats sick. When left on the ground, precipitation and sprinkler runoff can wash pet waste (and the bacteria it carries) into storm drains. Since most storm sewers discharge into rivers, lakes, and streams without undergoing any treatment, runoff polluted with pet waste and other contaminants can impair our surface water resources. By picking up after out pets, we can help keep our waterways safe. Visit www.MyWatersheds.org to learn other steps you can take to protect your watershed.
Road Salt and Water Quality
Road salt makes winter driving safer, but it can also impact the health of our waterways. As it melts, it flows into our waterways via stormwater drainage systems and contributes chloride that impacts aquatic habitats. Though much of it is distributed on roads by municipalities, about half of all salt is sold to private home's and businesses and used on driveways and parking lots. By storing it correctly, avoiding clumping, and only using as much as needed, businesses and homeowners can help minimize the consequences of salt pollution.
Motor Oil and Water Quality
Most oil pollution is different than the pictures you see of oil covered beaches following a major spill or accident. In fact, poorly maintained vehicles are one of the biggest causes of oil pollution in our waterways. Leaking automotive fluid goes from car to street, street to storm drain, and from the drain to our rivers, lakes, and streams. With over 250 million cars on the road, small spills add up to big problems. It’s estimated that Americans spill 180 million gallons of used oil each year. That’s 16 times the amount spilled during the Exxon Valdez disaster! By quickly fixing leaks, you can help protect both your vehicle and our water resources.
Contaminated run-off is the number one contributor of water quality impairment in the nation, but each of us can help change that. Small actions, like picking up after our pets, properly maintaining vehicles, and limiting the use of lawn chemicals reduces the source of run-off contamination and protects our shared waterways. Visit www.MyWatersheds.org to learn how you can get involved!
Car Washing and Water Quality
There’s no problem with washing your car -- it’s just how and where you do it. When you wash your car in the driveway or road, the soap — together with the dirt, wax, oil, grease, grime, and grit — washes from your car, flows along the curb, and then deposits into nearby storm drains. From there, the mess flows through the storm sewer system and directly into our rivers, streams, wetlands, and lakes. This impacts water quality for both humans and aquatic life. When water from car washing enters a waterway, it harms fish and impairs water quality. The phosphates from the soap cause excess algae to grow, which reduces oxygen levels as it decays. The soap’s surfactants damage fish gills and kill their eggs. Even if soap isn’t used, the oils, heavy metals, brake linings, and rust washed from vehicles enter storm drains and impact our shared surface water resources. Visit MyWatersheds.org for more info!
Leaves can easily clog storm drains and cause localized flooding and property damage. Also, once they've entered the storm sewer system, the decomposing leaves contribute excessive nutrients that can harm the health of our downstream waterways. Mulching is an easy and environmentally friendly solution!