Help keep our water clean

By practicing healthy household habits (see sidebar) this spring and summer, homeowners can help keep the spirit of Earth Day alive throughout the year by keeping common pollutants like fertilizer, pesticide, pet waste and grass clippings off the ground and out of stormwater runoff. The amount of pollution that you stop may seem small, but together it all adds up to cleaner water for everyone.

Although not as dramatic as the trash and debris revealed when the last snows of winter melt away, contaminated stormwater runoff is the single greatest threat to clean water that we are facing today. Locally, 28 municipalities in Onondaga, Madison and Oswego counties (including the towns of Lysander and Van Buren and the village of Baldwinsville) are working together to help raise awareness and combat stormwater contamination in our area.

For more information, and to learn how you can become part of the stormwater pollution solution, visit the Syracuse Urbanized Area Stormwater webpage on the Central New York Regional Planning & Development Board's web site at cnyrpdb.org/storwmater-phase2.

Healthy household habits

Cover piles of soil, sand and mulch being used in landscaping projects to stop them from washing off your yard into nearby water bodies. Plant grass where soil is exposed.

Sweep your sidewalks and driveways rather than hosing them down.

Compost leaves and grass clippings or spread them on the garden or lawn to recycle nutrients.

Have the soil in your lawn tested before applying fertilizers that you might not need. When needed, use only the type and amount of fertilizer indicated and clean up any excess that falls on paved surfaces during application.

Divert roof water to lawns or gardens where it can safely soak in.

Clean up pet waste by burying it or flushing it down the toilet.

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