Stop Pointless
Personal Pollution!
How everyday chores can harm	% pR0^°
your streams and	lakes
Tt's a beautiful Saturday—a perfect
day to make some extra spending
money washing cars for family
and neighbors, gassing up and oiling
the lawn mower, laying down some
fertilizer on those yellow patches in the
yard, walking the dog, and spraying
your mom's rosebushes for pesky
bugs. Work hard and maybe you can
make enough money to spring for
movie tickets for you and your date.
The health of your nearby stream
is probably one of the last things on
your mind as you tackle your tasks.
But guess what! Each of your jobs
could harm a nearby stream, lake, or
wetland. How? Well, consider....
Washing Cars
Many cleaning products contain
phosphates and other chemicals that
can make fish and other aquatic life
sick. Using a hose to wash off suds
creates a stream of wastewater that
can travel down your driveway, into
the street, and down a storm drain.
No prob? Well, what do you think is
at the other end of your storm drain?
Usually a stream!
You can help protect streams
when you wash your car if you:
•	Use a bucket instead of a hose to save
water and limit flow.
•	Wash your car in sections and rinse it
quickly using the high pressure flow
on an adjustable hose nozzle.
•	Use biodegradable soaps.
•	Park your car over gravel or your
lawn so wastewater doesn't flow
into the street.
that contribute
Do you know ...
The difference between a storm
drain and a sewer? Storm drains
collect water from outside our
homes and businesses and carry it,
untreated, directly to streams and
rivers. Sewers collect water from
inside homes and businesses and
carry it to treatment plants, where it
is cleaned before it reaches streams
and rivers. So remember, only rain
should go into storm drains, not
trash, oil, or other pollutants.
Working with Motors
Motors must be maintained if you
want them to work properly. Oil, gasoline,
brake fluid, degreasers, and antifreeze are
a few of the products you need. All of
these products contain chemicals that can
harm aquatic life if they get into a stream,
lake, or wetland. One gallon of used oil
can ruin a million gallons of fresh
water—a year's supply for 50 people.
If you accidentally spill these products
on the ground when you're working,
clean them up quickly. If you don't, the
next rainstorm will pick them up and
carry them to the nearest stream. Some
chemicals are acutely toxic and can cause
immediate harm or death to insects, fish,
and animals within 96 hours or less (for
example, antifreeze, which
is toxic to pets,
Can you identify the activities
watershed? (See next page for answers)
to pollution in your

has a sweet taste that cats and dogs
love). Others are chronically toxic and
cause harm overtime.
You can help prevent hazardous
substances from getting into natural
waterways if you:
•	Use the product only when necessary
and use only the amount needed.
When it comes to hazardous
chemicals, more is not better.
•	Clean up any spills immediately.
(Wear protective clothing and gloves.)
•	Never flush chemicals down the toilet
or pour them onto the ground or into a
storm drain.
•	Dispose of used oil and other
hazardous products in a safe manner.
Participate in collection programs or
take products to collection centers for
Fertilizing the Lawn
Green lawns need lots of fertilizer,
right? Wrong! Too much fertilizer
applied at the wrong time can be very
harmful to grass. It can cause disease,
weeds, and poor root growth and make
your lawn less able to withstand periods
of heavy rain or dry weather.
In addition, the same rains that pick
up oil, gas, and other hazardous chem-
icals can also pick up excess fertilizer
lying around and carry it to a lake or
stream. Instead of making grass grow in
your front yard, this fertilizer can make
algae and weeds grow in the water.
You can have a nice-looking lawn
and still keep streams and ponds healthy
if you:
•	Use native grasses that do not have
high fertilizer requirements.
•	Test your soil to find out exactly
what nutrients your lawn needs.
•	Apply fertilizer only when it is
needed, during the right season,
and in proper amounts.
•	Do not leave fertilizer on driveways
and sidewalks where it can be picked
up and washed away by runoff from
the next storm.
•	Do not fertilize if a heavy storm is
Answers from page 1:
1. Man dumping motor oil down the storm drain; 2. Man littering; 3. Eroding stream bank; 4. Sprinkler watering
the pavement; 5. Leaking antifreeze from car; 6. Woman using fertilizers and pesticides improperly.
^ Let's
—j Surfing
Learn what you can
do to prevent pollution
in your watershed
EPA has developed a web site on
how you can help prevent pollu-
tion in your watershed. Checkout
the information on:
*	Landscaping and gardening
*	Maintaining septic tanks
*	Choosing household chemicals
Let's Get
Our Boots
Storm Drain Stenciling
Most people don't know that storm
drains collect storm water runoff and
diverts it directly to a stream with
any treatment. Stenciling the top of
a storm drain inlet with the name of
the waterbody the runoff travels to
helps remind people that whatever
flows into the drain will end up in the
storm water/menuofbmps/index.
detail&bmp=15 to learn how to
organize a stenciling project.
Walking the Dog
Don't be embarrassed to say it—pet
poop is potential pollution. Pet feces
contain a lot of bacteria that can contami-
nate streams, lakes, and ponds. One study
found that a single gram of dog feces
contains 23 million fecal coliform bac-
teria. In a densely populated watershed
in Arlington, Virginia (Four Mile Run),
scientists estimate that dogs deposit more
than 5,000 pounds of poop each day. You
can help reduce the amount of pet waste
entering local streams if you:
•	Pick up after your pet and throw the
poop in the trash can.
•	Ask your town to set up pet waste
stations that provide dog walkers with
free plastic bags for picking up poop.
Controlling Insect Pests
Pests are a pain, but getting rid of
them can be a greater pain if you do it
wrong. Using harsh pesticides can be
harmful for people and the environment.
According to the Federal Centers for
Disease Control, 82 percent of Americans
already have the widely used insecticide
Dursban in their bodies.
A technique known as integrated pest
management is usually the best approach
to controlling pests and protecting water-
ways from pollution (see
pesticides/controlling). Chemical insecti-
cides are used very sparingly, if at all. The
focus is on early identification of pests
and natural controls such as introducing
predators to feed on the pests and planting
plants that are naturally resistant to pests.
You can reduce the use of pesticides
at your house if you:
•	Learn about integrated pest manage-
ment and practice it.
A chemist researches and de-
velops chemicals and consum
products that are safe for the public
and the environment.
An environmental consultant provides techni-
cal support for governments, private industry,
or not-for-profit organizations for developing
solutions to environmental problems.