Simple Ways to Reduce Water Pollution and Run Off

Simple Ways to Reduce Water Pollution and Run off

The way we live effects how our water is being polluted. Everyday household activities, for example, oil from our driveways, paint, and residue from the wall and deck leads to water in the sewer system or the local lake get contaminated. But, there are simple things we can do as a community to reduce pollution. We must have a conscious mind when dealing with household activities that cause issues with our water.

  • Having fewer hard surfaces of concrete and asphalt will reduce runoff from our properties. Landscape with vegetation, gravel or other porous materials instead of cement; install wood decking instead of concrete, and interlocking bricks and paver stones for walkways. Redirecting rain gutters and downspouts away from the building and to rain barrels and gardens, soil, grass or gravel areas. Planting vegetation at lower elevations than nearby hard surfaces allows runoff to seep into soil.

  • Native plants need less water and it can help reduce unnecessary maintenance, which is costly. By applying natural fertilizer and soil conditioner this helps stimulate plant growth and retain soil moisture. By creating your own compost (peat, rotted manure, and bone meal) they have compost bins which can be purchased at any hardware or plant nursery.  Composting can decrease chemical fertilizer (helps retain soil moisture) which will help divert waste from landfills.

  • Watering plants and lawns can be an issue if you are over-watering them. It is important to keep it at a minimum because it is estimated that we use 7 billion gallons (residential use) of water on a daily basis, according to the EPA. Avoiding the sidewalk, curbs, and pavement is important because homeowner waste water on those areas that don’t need it. Using a rain gauge helps tell the homeowner how much water is being used. Preventing over usage is key to lowering water pollution and your water bill.

  • Recycling and disposing of all trash is as important as all the other steps I mentioned already. Never flush non-degradable products down the toilet. For example, diapers and plastic tampons. This will damage the sewage treatment process. If this is done then it will litter our beaches and water. 

  • The following products cannot be put in the drain, sink, or toilet: paint, oil, solvents, pool chemicals, insectcide, and other harzardous chemicals. These products have chemicals such as sodium hypochlorite , phenol, cresol, and etc. which can enter the water system.  Contacting your local sanitation, public works, or environmental health department to find out about hazardous waste collection days and sites, or check for local recycling options, are great. If a local program isn't available, request one. 

  • Recycling motor oil will reduce pollution as well. Really important not to pour it down the gutter or storm drain. A single quart of motor oil can pollute 250,000 gallons of drinking water. 

  • Skipping the home carwash helps eliminate over usage of water. Taking it to a professional car wash is the best thing for anyone to do.

  • Help identify polluters. Join an environmental group that monitors sewage treatment plants and industries. You can go to to find a local group near your area.


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