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Protecting Water Quality. Did You Know…?  We all live on multiple lakes or streams  It’s true -- we might not be able to see it from our window, but.

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Presentation on theme: "Protecting Water Quality. Did You Know…?  We all live on multiple lakes or streams  It’s true -- we might not be able to see it from our window, but."— Presentation transcript:

1 Protecting Water Quality

2 Did You Know…?  We all live on multiple lakes or streams  It’s true -- we might not be able to see it from our window, but it’s there. It might be a small stream or ditch or even the storm drain in the street. All of these lead to a river or lake, which ultimately connect to the oceans.

3 The area of land that contributes to a specific lake or stream is called its WATERSHED

4 What is Storm Water? Stormwater is water that accumulates on land as a result of rain or melting snow, including runoff from urban areas such as roads and roofs.

5 When it rains or when snow melts, storm water flows through pipes or ditches and drains untreated into lakes, rivers and streams, carrying pollutants with it. Untreated

6 But the real water pollution comes from factories, right?  According to the US EPA, the primary cause of water pollution in the US today is contaminated storm water runoff.  A Salt Creek study produced for IDEM showed a 55 percent reduction in bacteria from sources other than factories is needed to meet standards.

7 MS4 Program  Because stormwater runoff is such a problem nationwide, the EPA created the MS4 Permit Program.

8 An MS4 Community owns or operates a system for collecting and conveying storm water, such as pipes or ditches, in an urban or urbanizing area. Importantly, this system is separate from sewage treatment, so none of the water is treated before being released.

9 Through 6 required Minimum Control Measures to improve water quality What does the MS4 Program Do? Reduces water pollution from stormwater runoff.

10 Six Control Measures 1.Public Education and Outreach 2.Public Participation and Involvement 3.Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination 4.Construction Site Run-off Control 5.Post-Construction Stormwater Management 6.Pollution Prevention and Good Housekeeping at Municipal Operations

11 They Require YOUR Help

12 Four Simple Steps  Here are some simple steps you can follow to help keep our water clean.  Give them a try. A few simple changes can make a big difference!  Plus, you’ll save time and money in the process.

13 Step 1: Use Chemicals With Care – They Don’t Belong Out There

14 Think, would you want to consume it?  Remember all storm drains are untreated. Any chemical which enters drains are consumed by anything which uses the water, including humans and wildlife. If you would not consume the chemical, be sure to keep it out of the storm drain so nothing ends up consuming it down the waterway.

15 Action Examples  Sweep it. Do you have extra fertilizer, grass clippings, or dirt on your driveway? Sweep it back onto your lawn. Hosing your driveway sends these pollutants into storm drains that lead to our lakes and streams.  Only rain in the drain. Never dump motor oil, chemicals, pet waste, dirty or soapy water, or anything else down the storm drain. All of these materials pollute our lakes and streams. Watch for household hazardous waste collections in your area  Care for your car. Cars are full of chemicals including gasoline, oil, antifreeze, and brake fluid. Cars also require the use of detergents and waxes. Make sure that all of these chemicals stay out of storm drains.  Label it. Volunteer to label storm drains in your neighborhood to inform residents that storm drains flow directly to our lakes and streams. Encourage citizens to contact their local community for more information on storm drain stenciling programs.

16 Not This!

17 Step 2: Use the Can, Not the Land – On the Ground, In the Water

18 Remember, if its on the ground, it’s in the water.

19 Fertilizer  Improper fertilization (e.g., leaving fertilizer on paved surfaces, using improper type, applying on frozen ground) harms our water. Improper fertilization causes it to get into storm drains in streets, which empty into lakes and rivers. Fertilizer in lakes and rivers causes algae to grow, which uses oxygen that fish need.

20 Action Examples  Clean up after your pet –Prompt and proper disposal –If left on the ground, it can raise bacteria levels in water bodies.  Pick up litter and debris –Trash on the ground can be swept into rivers and lakes by stormwater. –Chemicals can leach off large items left on the ground outside such as appliances.  Fertilize Caringly –Fertilize in the fall. –Keep it on the lawn. –Use a fertilizer meant for the lawn. –Follow directions and be patient. –Make fertilizer-free zones.

21 Step 3: Use Water Wisely – It Doesn’t Grow On Trees

22 Remember, you can save water  Did you know that individually we use about 77 gallons of water each day?  When we overwater our lawns, the excess water can easily carry pollution to the storm drains and then to our lakes and streams. By using less water on our lawns we can help prevent some of this pollution. And remember, saving water also saves money!

23 Outside Water Use  Water wisely. Generally, your lawn needs about an inch of water a week. Overwatering lawns results in shallow-rooted plants that are less tolerant of heat and drought, and more prone to disease. Avoid overwatering by using a rain gauge and watering only when necessary, instead of on a fixed schedule.  Improve your aim. Adjust your sprinklers to water only your lawn and plants — not your driveway, sidewalk, or street.  Use mulch. Place a thick layer of mulch (e.g., four inches) around trees and plants. This helps retain water, reduce weeds, and minimize the need for pesticides.  Mow high. Make your lawn cheaper and easier to maintain by mowing high (three inches is recommended). Longer grass has deeper roots and requires less water.

24 Indoor Water Use  While indoor waste water is treated, most treatment plants discharge treated water into the streams as well. This discharge adds water to our streams which can lead to erosion of streams when combined with the flow after a large rainstorm. All water conservation is important!

25 Remember what we do at home affects our rivers and lakes!

26 Step 4: Use Water Where It Lands – Why Let It Run Away?

27 Think, save on shipping!  We use 77 gallons of water each day, yet most of the water that falls on our properties flows away just to be sent back to us by city utilities or pumped from groundwater. Save money and water quality by keeping as much storm water on the property as possible.

28 Rain Barrels Image courtesy  Rain Barrels are an old-fashioned idea that are finding new life in today’s gardens. Did you know that one inch of rainfall on 1000 square feet of roof amounts to 623 gallons of water? At that rate, a 55 gallon rain barrel will fill up pretty fast!  Rain barrels are an easy way to take advantage of all that free water falling from the sky; it makes sense to save it and use it later for watering the lawn and garden, or even washing the car (on the grass, of course). Some gardeners connect soaker hoses to their barrels to make watering effortless!

29 Rain Gardens  Rain gardens are an effective way to reduce runoff pollution and control local flooding and erosion by keeping rainwater in your yard and out of the storm drain.  These gardens recreate a forest meadow or prairie and can collect about 40% more water than conventional lawn.  Location: rain gardens can be placed in a naturally low-lying area of the lawn, or along a road or driveway to catch runoff from paved areas.  Use native flowering plants in your rain garden; once they are established, your garden will need minimal care. Image courtesy Rain Gardens are more than just pretty places!

30 Permeable Pavement  Save a step and instead of sending water off pavement to rain gardens, just let the water soak through the pavement.  Permeable pavement allows the water which falls on pavement to soak into the ground below the pavement, helping to recharge groundwater and support vegetation in your area.

31 Rain water is free, so instead of thinking of it as a problem to send down the drain, turn it into a blessing by keeping it on site.

32 What’s NIRPC Got to Do With It? In 2003 NIRPC was working with local agencies on a Regional Watershed Planning Framework. There was concern over what to expect from the new rules. The group had an INNOVATIVE Idea. The NWI Partnership for Clean Water.

33 What does NIRPC do for you? Implement Required Public Education and Public Involvement Activities for your City. Provide Consistent Messaging to Citizens of Northwest Indiana. Save $$ through collaboration, quantity purchasing, and economies of scale.


35 Remember Four Steps to Follow 1.Use Chemicals With Care – They Don’t Belong Out There 2.Use the Can, Not the Land – On the Ground, In the Water 3.Use Water Wisely – It Doesn’t Grow on Trees 4.Use Water Where it Lands – Why Let it Run Away?

36 The Fifth Step  Spread the word!  Tell everyone about these four steps to follow.

37 Sponsored by NIRPC

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