What We Do Affects Everyone’s Water

Oil spills in waterways have always made headlines. Most recently, there was the mystery oil spill in the Grand River in Lansing’s Old Town. While the source of that spill remains unknown, it is a reminder that what we choose to do in our own homes and yards ultimately affects our water.

Water is very good at dissolving materials it picks up on the ground as it travels from the sky as precipitation to our rivers, lakes, and streams. Water also soaks into the ground and becomes part of our water table (or aquifer), bringing any contamination it contains with it. If we want to keep our water clean for drinking, growing food, bathing, cooking, recreation, etc. then we need to take an active role in protecting it.

And it’s really not that difficult. Something as small as not fertilizing your yard before a rain storm or picking up your pet’s waste  can add up to make a real difference in our water quality.

The following article by the Eaton Conservation District in Charlotte, MI highlights some of the simple things we can do to keep pollutants out of our water.

And to discover more ways you can help you can call your local Conservation District, check out the Michigan Water Stewardship website, or find a local resource through the Pollution Isn’t Pretty campaign.


Is Your Oil Making its Way to a Local Stream?

The recent oil spill mystery in Lansing on the Grand River reminds us that everything we do, affects our local waterways. The fluids that leak or drip from your automobile eventually end up in our rivers, lakes, and streams. Did you know that even though your home may be miles away from a lake or a river, the chemicals that spill on your driveway or parking lot find their way to our local waterways? Eaton County is home to three separate watersheds: the Grand River, Thornapple River, and Battle Creek River Watersheds. The rainwater, soiled water from washing your car, and any toxic chemicals which are allowed to enter drainage ditches and storm sewers end up flowing into these watersheds. Keeping hazardous chemicals from entering the watershed is an important task for everyone to keep in mind. Here are suggestions how the proper maintenance of your automobile plays a key role in keeping our surface water clean.

􀁺 Repair any leaks and drips from your automobile. This includes: motor oil, transmission fluid, anti-freeze/coolant, power steering fluid, brake fluid, gasoline and other lubricants. Remember, these chemicals are also dangerous to your pets.
􀁺 If you choose to change your own oil, do not dump the used oil in the yard, on your driveway, or in a storm drain. Find a local firm that will recycle the used oil.
􀁺 Do not use used motor oil to control dust on gravel drives.
􀁺 Wash your car on the grass to filter out impurities or take it to a commercial car wash where the water is reclaimed (check local ordinances first).
􀁺 Basic automobile maintenance such as tune-ups, proper tire inflation, and efficient driving practices saves on fuel, as well as water and air pollution.
􀁺 Abandoned automobiles should be taken to a scrap yard or donated to a local charity. Old cars sitting out in a field will leak oil and fuel.

Having a clean environment is of primary importance for our health and economy. Clean waterways provide recreation, commercial opportunities, fish habitat, and add beauty to our landscape. All of us benefit from clean water – and all of us have a role in getting and keeping our lakes, rivers, wetlands, and groundwater clean. For more easy steps on protecting our lakes and streams, visit www.pollutionisntpretty.org or contact the Eaton Conservation District at 517/543-5848 x 5.



Oil spill picture is unrelated to above article.


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