MIAMI COUNTY — Most of us remember learning in elementary school how water sustains all life and entire ecosystems depend on it for their survival.
August is National Water Quality Month in the United States.
The Environmental Protection Agency, which reports that 40 percent of the nation’s waterways suffer water quality problems, has a detailed watershed database, which allows users to locate which watershed they live in and learn about how polluted it is and what actions they can take to protect their regional water quality.
Clean Water Action offers a thorough fact sheet on what individuals and families can do to prevent water pollution from their homes, including not using antibacterial soaps or cleaning products, not flushing unwanted or out-of-date medications down the toilet or drain, not putting anything but water down storm drains, fixing leaks that drop from cars and putting liners in driveways to collect oil and other materials, avoiding using pesticides or chemical fertilizers and choosing nontoxic household products when possible.
According to Linda Ratermann, information public relations specialist for the Miami Soil and Water Conservancy District, families gearing up for back-to-school season can help conserve water and water bills by following a few steps.
“It’s best if someone needs to water plants that they do it first thing in the morning,” she said. “It also helps to keep grass no shorter than four inches high. When grass is a little taller, there is more reserve in it, which helps to save the roots and retain water in the ground.”
She added that rain barrels, which can be found at many home improvement stores, are increasingly popular among homeowners. The barrels gather rain that falls in the spring and summer, which families can use to keep water bills down.
“As an in-general rule for around the house, keeping showers within 10 minutes per family member is ideal and not taking very hot showers because of the damage they do to skin,” she said. “Although it may not sound very nice, sharing the flush, where you flush the toiler after three uses, is a good way to conserve water as well.”
For more tips or information on Water Quality Month, check out the EPA’s website at www.epa.gov.
Reach Allison C. Gallagher at email@example.com or on Twitter @Troydailynews.