Many people think that most water pollution in our rivers, creeks, lakes and streams comes from businesses and industries. It might be surprising to learn that the number one source of water pollution in the United States is polluted stormwater runoff, and that it’s the result of each of us going about our everyday activities at home, work and play!
Making the connection between our actions and the water pollution it can cause is an important first step in doing the things that will help protect and improve local water quality. One often overlooked source of water pollution is what we keep around our homes and on our property. Household products such a fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, paint, pool chemicals or cleaners that are stored outside should always be kept tightly sealed in watertight containers and if possible, off the ground and sheltered from rain. Not only will proper storage protect your investment in these products, it also will prevent stormwater from washing them into local waterways.
Each year, the importance of Pollution Prevention – also known as P2 – is recognized and encouraged during the third full week of September. This year P2 is September 16-20. Having a week set aside for pollution prevention is a great reminder to identify potential pollutants that are lurking around your property and home. Take a few minutes to survey your outdoor areas to detect any possible sources of pollution, and take some stormwater friendly action to prevent these pollutants from leaving your property when it rains. But the outdoor areas of your home are not the only potential sources of stormwater pollution. You may want to check out some other helpful P2 tips for home, work, and on the road from the EPA.
Keep household products and chemicals tightly covered and stored indoors if possible. If you must store these products outside and do not have a covered area to protect them from the elements, consider investing in waterproof containers with lids to eliminate possible exposure to rain.