Updated: Mar 31
What You Can Do to Keep Your Outdoor Spring Cleaning Safe!
Spring is in full swing which means that many of us are working on outdoor to-do lists in the lovely weather. Rarely is water quality at the front of our minds when performing maintenance on our vehicles or working in our gardens. However, we should be paying attention to how we affect our water! The list below will give you some of Tully’s Tips on how you can help keep out water clean in your own backyard.
1. Plant lots of plants as they help filter the water that soaks into the soil and reduces carbon dioxide emissions. This also makes out planet prettier and our air more oxygenated.
2. Minimize the use of pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers. Do not dispose of these chemicals into the sanitary sewer or storm sewer systems. Here are some safe alternatives to protect your plants:
a. Salt Spray: deters slugs and spider mites; mix salt (Himalayan pink crystal salt is suggested) with a gallon of warm water and spray onto the garden’s affected areas, apply to the soil rather than spraying directly on plants to avoid drying out plants
b. Citrus Oil and Castile Soap: deter slugs, cockroaches, and ants; mix an ounce of orange oil with a gallon of water and a splash of castile soap.
c. Hot Pepper Spray: keeps away many pests including aphids and whiteflies as well as mammals like rabbits and squirrels; blend cayenne or habanero peppers with two cups of water. It should steep for 24 hours before use.
3. Pick up all outside debris and put it into either a compost pile or your green waste rather than pushing it into the storm drain. Also, keep this in mind when using leaf blowers and make sure you are blowing away from storm drains. This waste can cause blockage issues if let into the storm drain.
4. When washing vehicles, do your best to wash over grass as the root systems will help filter the water while allowing the water to reabsorb into the ground. Remember that even if the grass can filter out the detergents, they are still in the soil so always try to use non-toxic soaps such as:
a. Eco Touch
b. Simple Green
c. Diluted white vinegar
5. Remember to do regular maintenance checks on vehicles to ensure that they are producing minimal air pollution as this evaporates into the air and is returned into our water supply through the rain.
6. Do not put used motor oil, antifreeze, or any other petroleum-based product down any drain or on any soil. Most local automotive stores take these to be processed for you! So, place the substances in sealed 5-gallon buckets and take them to your neighborhood auto store.
7. Recycling is a super-easy way to help prevent water pollution as many unrecycled plastics eventually end up in our waterways. Also, when possible grab that soda in a glass bottle rather than the plastic ones.
8. DO NOT LITTER. Obviously, this
is something we should be doing to keep every looking beautifully clean, but it is an extremely important practice to keep our oceans, lakes, and rivers clean. Put you’re your gum wrappers in your pocket and not the ground so that we can protect the wildlife and ecosystems in place around us.
9. Avoid having ground fires in general as they cause a higher risk for wildfires but also can lead to more ash flying into the water or be washed in by the rain. Instead, use a fire pit that is up off the ground, has some wind protection, and away from waterways.
10. Collect all concrete or paint containers and washouts and take them to the appropriate landfill. Both of these substances can be very dangerous if allowed into our water systems so let these dry out completely rather than dumping them before transporting them to the disposal facility.
We hope that this list gives you some ideas on how you can help prevent water pollution! Make sure you take a look at part 1 of this topic - Tully’s Tips for Personal Pollution Prevention, Part 1: What You Can Do to Keep Your Indoor Spring Cleaning Safe!