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Toxic Cocktail? No thanks, I’ll Pass

Toxic Coctail No thanks I'll pass!Plenty of people out on this rainy December afternoon. Plenty of people out on this rainy December afternoon.

Five ways you can help reduce water pollution.

We finally reached the rainy season in Southern California and I was explaining to a friend how the Surfrider Foundation recommends people never swim or surf after a rain because of illnesses caused by water pollution.  I went on to say the runoff from urban areas and leaking sewer pipes makes it easy to get sick after going in the water.  I further explained surfers should really wait 72 hours after a rain before they get back in the water. After a rain the ocean  may contain several  disease-causing organisms and viruses are the number one cause of swimming-associated diseases.

I thought surfing and the ocean were fun, but thinking about contracting viruses causing gastroenteritis, hepatitis, respiratory illness, and ear, nose, and throat problems takes most of the fun out of going.  Then when you add the “Toxic Cocktail” to the mix (pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals flushed into the water from runoff) jogging on the beach is starting to look like a much better alternative.

My friend looked at me with very wide eyes, and demanded to know what we were going to do about this problem.  Interesting, like most of us I realized I was just accepting of a situation and not doing enough to change it.  So as a start lets take a look at these ways we can help reduce water pollution.  If you are thinking I don’t live by the ocean, so I don’t have to worry about this think again.  Here is some information from American Rivers explaining  most Americans live within a mile of a river or stream, and all of our drinking water comes directly or indirectly from rivers and streams.  These streams and rivers are subject to pollution too.

  • Number one is simple.  Use less water.  The less water we use the less water we put in our sewage system.  Reducing landscape water use by all the means found on this blog have benefits for reducing water pollution as well.
  • Take time to participate in a beach, river or stream cleanups.  Remove the trash before it washes into the water.
  • Use a mulching mower instead of bagging grass clippings. Mulching mowers add a natural layer of compost to your lawn and you don’t have to deal with disposal of grass clippings.
  • Start composting yard wastes with a bin or barrel. Alan provides some excellent ideas in this post.
  • Remove grass clippings from the sidewalks after you mow and put them back on the turf not the street or gutter.

As you can see its easy to start making a difference when it comes to water pollution.  Not one of us can make a huge difference by ourselves but if all of us participate we can make our waters more safe.  I’m sure you have a few ideas of your own and would appreciate it if you shared them with other readers in the comments section below.  Thanks and happy surfing!

 

 

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Richard Restuccia

Richard Restuccia is a water management evangelist. He believes passionately in water efficiency and sees the financial and social benefits far too often to keep a secret. As the Director for Water Management Solutions at ValleyCrest, Richard is our spokesperson at industry events and on the Hill to provide direction and insight on landscape water management best practices. Richard puts his words into action through service on various boards and committees. Currently he serves on the Irrigation Association’s Board of Directors. As a board member, Richard serves in a variety of capacities, including government/public affairs. He is the liaison between the board and its marketing committee on the best ways to promote water efficiency and educate industry professionals on new technologies, products and services. Richard is also a regular contributor to Lawn & Landscape Magazine.

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COMMENT (1)

  1. Friday, 6:00 Tomm Shannon

    Growing up in Florida, I can’t agree more with the Surfriders. Before they routed stormwater into the lakes to kill them, we used to swim after a storm. We also used to fish because the streams provided bait for the bass and you could catch them as they swam to the bait. Bad decision in these times. Another idea is to amend soil profile when renovating or aerating to improve the life sponge or root zone to reduce runoff.

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