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Walk the dog. Wash the Car. Change the oil. Add some antifreeze. Kill some weeds. Fertilize the lawn. Certainly nothing illegal about any of it. But quietly, our most common household chores are having an unhealthy impact on Hampton Roads' waterways. Each time it rains, everything we leave on our streets, driveways and lawns washes untreated through our ditches and storm drains and into our streams, rivers, lakes and bays.
What's so hard about stopping the toxic soup of pollutants streaming into our prized local waters? Not a thing. Here are easy some solutions to help.
Fertilize your lawn in the fall. Spring rains wash fertilizer off your lawn and into waterways. Exception: warm season grasses like Bermuda, Zoysiagrass, Centipedegrass & St. Augustine should be fertilized in the spring.
If you use chemical fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides, use them sparingly and follow label directions carefully. Never apply fertilizers or pesticides when a heavy rain is forecast.
For environmentally friendly ways to control pests and landscape your yard, contact your local Virginia Cooperative Extension office.
Recycle or properly dispose of used motor oil and other hazardous wastes. One quart of motor oil can contaminate up to 2 million gallons of water. Remember to take advantage of the City's household chemical collection listed on the City's recycling page.
Use a commercial car wash, where wastewater is managed to protect our waterways. Or, wash the car on the grass with a mild, biodegradable soap.
Reduce the amount of paved surfaces around your home. Using bricks, stones, pea gravel or oyster shells for driveways, walkways and patios can filter pollutants and reduce the amount of rainwater flowing into storm drains.
Be sure that gutters and roof spouts empty onto the grass, or into a rain barrel for future landscape watering.
Keep leaves, grass clippings, soaps, litter and harmful chemicals away from streets, ditches, storm drains and waterways. The added nutrients and toxins those products feed our waterways contribute to harmful algae blooms and fish kills.
Bag pet waste and place it in the trash. Pet waste contains harmful bacterial pollutants and nutrients which imperil waterway ecosystems.
(Information provided by HR Storm "Recipes for a Healthy Hampton Roads")
For more information and volunteer opportunities check out askHRgreen
which is a public awareness program of the 16 cities and counties of Hampton Roads administered through the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission (HRPDC), which encourages environmental stewardship among all residents here in southeastern Virginia. Members of askHRgreen.org
include the cities of Chesapeake, Franklin, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Poquoson, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Virginia Beach
the counties of Gloucester, Isle of Wight, James City, Southampton, Surry
and the Hampton Roads Sanitation District (HRSD).
April 22, 2014
November 11, 2014
Last updated: 10/14/2013 4:12:19 PM