Water Quality Hacks at Home

When it rains, it ultimately pours lots of bad stuff into our waterways. Stormwater runoff fills ditches, streams, creeks and rivers with pollutants such as pesticides, fertilizers, herbicides, motor oil from roads and driveways — you get the picture.

While it may same like a Herculean task to tackle water quality as a whole, it turns out everyone can play a part in reducing pollution stormwater runoff.

Here are a few good ways to make your own impact for clean water:

Lawn Care

If you’re planning to fertilize, test your soil to determine how much fertilizer you actually need. Apply fertilizers and pesticides sparingly, and do not apply before it’s supposed to rain. Compost your lawn clippings. Learn all you need to know about lawn care here!

Cut Your Pollution Contribution

There are some simple ways to cut back on polluting at home: reduce bacteria by picking up after your pets and disposing of the waste properly; wash your car on your lawn where the chemicals and soap can be absorbed and filtered by the soil instead of washing directly into a ditch or stream; maintain your septic tank — find out how here!

Gardening for Water Quality

When it comes to gardening and water quality, there are a variety of ways you can make an impact: planting/preserving trees and introducing rain gardens and rain barrels to your gardening repertoire. Rain gardens hold and slowly filter water, preventing runoff, while rain barrels and cisterns harvest rainwater to be reused. Find out more about how to install your own rain garden or install a rain barrel.

Learn other great tips and tools to reduce pollution with N.C. State Cooperative Extension’s A Gardener’s Guide to Protecting Water Quality.

And here are some more general ways you can address climate change by cutting back on your carbon footprint — individually, we can make a difference together will make a difference. If you have a tip to share, please email it to info@soundrivers.org.

  • Reduce, Reuse and Recycle
    Yep, that still works!
  • Use Water More Efficiently
    Less water, less energy needed to pump to your home.
  • Commit to Eating More Plants and Less Meat
    Livestock contribute 14.5% of global greenhouse emissions. Eat less meat and while you’re at it, choose locally sourced foods when possible and buying food with less packaging.
  • Install a smart thermometer to reduce energy use at home.
  • Plant more trees and/or support groups that do.
  • Vote!
    Check out resources like vote411.org.
  • Be active in your community and find ways to support youth-led movements that focus on the environment.