Make a Difference

We all have opportunities every day to make little changes to protect and improve our environment. Consider working together as a family to follow these easy tips:

In the House...

  • Practice household water conservation - turn off the tap when you brush your teeth, use a low flow showerhead and consider shorter showers, only run full loads in the dishwasher and washing machine, and when it comes time to replace your appliances, consider water efficient appliances.
  • Repair household leaks. Turn off taps and check to see if water meter is still going to test for leaks.
  • Use natural non-toxic cleaning products such as vinegar and baking powder to reduce chemical pollutants going down the drain.
  • Never pour chemicals or other materials down your storm drain. Instead, bring them to the hazardous waste depot.
  • Don't flush unused prescriptions down the toilet - instead, return them to your pharmacist for proper disposal.

In the Yard...

  • Consider using natural gardening methods - you can still have a healthy green lawn without using pesticides and fertilizers.
  • Disconnect your eavestrough downspouts and install a rain barrel to collect water for plants and reduce stormwater runoff.
  • Use a broom, not a hose, to clean driveways and sidewalks.
  • Leave grass clippings on lawn - retains moisture and also fertilizes.
  • Choose drought resistant trees, plants and grasses.
  • Plant leafy (deciduous) trees on the sunny side of your house. During the summer they provide shade, and in the winter they will shed their leaves to let the warming sunshine through.
  • Don't litter. Even pet waste should be picked up off your lawn and properly disposed - otherwise, rain can wash the bacteria from waste directly into our rivers, lakes and streams.
  • If you have a septic system, get it pumped out regularly and don't use products that can kill or harm the beneficial bacteria that break down waste in your septic tank.
  • Know the location of all the components of your septic system and keep heavy vehicles and trees (to reduce compaction and roots clogging weeping tile) away from the ground above them.
  • Check your septic system annually and have a reputable contractor remove sludge every three to five years.

In the Car...

  • Fix any oil leaks so that contaminants are not washed by rain into storm drains and onwards to rivers and lakes.
  • While washing your car, park it on grass; otherwise cleaning chemicals and other pollutants picked up by the water wash in to storm drains and on to rivers and lakes. Grass and other vegetation help filter pollutants.

On the Farm...

  • Consider no-till and other conservation farming practices to reduce soil erosion and prevent sediment from entering our rivers, lakes and streams.
  • Plant buffer strips and construct rock chutes to improve water quality.

In the Community...

  • Participate in community tree planting and stream cleanup events to improve the sources of our local drinking water.