Protecting our Water Supplies
Easy Things You Can Do Every Day to Protect Our Drinking Water
A Guide to Healthy Habits for Cleaner Water
Pollution on streets, parking lots and lawns is washed by rain into storm drains, then directly to our drinking water supplies and the rivers, lakes and the ocean our children play in. Fertilizer, oil, pesticides, detergents, pet waste, and grass clippings: You name it and it ends up in our water.
Stormwater pollution is one of New Jersey’s greatest threats to clean and plentiful water, and that’s why we’re all doing something about it.
By sharing the responsibility and making small, easy changes to our daily lives, we can keep common pollutants out of Stormwater. It all adds up to cleaner water, and it saves the high cost of cleaning up once it’s contaminated.
Keep pollutants out of storm drains
Do not dump anything onto the streets, storm drains into the canal. This water is not treated prior to release into the Delaware River. The imprinted fish and labels on the storm drains remind us all that our storm drains lead directly to our river and negatively affect our drinking water.
Inspect your septic system
Annually inspect and pump your septic tank out every 3-5 years depending on use. An improperly working septic system can contaminate your water supply, your neighborhood ground water supply and create public health problems. Avoid adding unnecessary grease, household hazardous waste products and solids to the septic system.
Underground Oil Tanks
Many residents of New Jersey use underground storage tanks to store heating oil. Although residential underground storage tanks containing heating oil are unregulated by federal and state laws, these tanks are a potential source of ground and surface water pollution. Home heating oil contains several substances that are known carcinogens. *NJDEP
Replace in ground tanks with an above ground tank. This could prevent a large environmental problem, costly clean ups and delay in future real estate transaction.
Limit your use of fertilizers and pesticides
Avoid over use of fertilizers or applying fertilizers before a heavy storm. Fertilizers run into the Stormwater; drain into our streams, rivers, water supplies. Fertilizers contain nitrates and phosphates that, in abundance, cause blooms of algae and reduced oxygen levels that can lead to fish kills. Be aware of the accumulation of chemicals resulting from multiple residents treating lawns/landscaping.
Use alternative pesticides whenever possible. Heavy rains carry pesticides to our water supplies. Many household products made to exterminate pests are also toxic to humans, animals, aquatic organisms and plants. If you do use a pesticide, follow the directions carefully.
Wash your car only when necessary
Consider using a commercial car wash that recycles its wash water. Many car detergents contain phosphate. If you wash your car at home, use a non-phosphate detergent.
Clean up after your pet
Use newspaper, bags or pooper-scoopers to pick up wastes. Dispose of the wrapped pet waste in the trash or unwrapped in a toilet.
Never discard pet waste in a storm drain.