What You Can Do
Do you think that you now have an idea of what NPS pollution is all about? If so, then you are probably asking, “What can I do to stop NPS pollution?” Well, here are a few nonpoint pointers to get you started. You can be part of the solution, not the pollution!
- Collect the used motor oil from your car and lawn equipment and take it to a service station or other recycling facility. You can also have your oil changed at a professional garage; they are legally obligated to recycle the oil. Never pour oil on the ground or down a storm drain. Clean up spills before they are washed away, because motor oil contains toxic chemicals that are poisonous to aquatic life.
- Leave grass clippings and leaves on the lawn as a natural fertilizer or create your own compost pile in your backyard. Keep clippings out of the street, because you are just sweeping them into a nearby lake or river.
- Prevent soil erosion by planting native trees, grasses, and flowers, because their root systems will hold the soil in place. When soil (sediment) washes into lakes and streams, it causes the water to become cloudy, blocks sunlight for plant growth, and covers fish spawning habitat.
- Use pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers sparingly and according to directions. Extra chemicals may run off the land and into our lakes and streams or seep into the groundwater. Some natural alternatives include pulling weeds and using organic materials from a compost pile for fertilizer.
- Clean up litter from your home, business, school, neighborhood, or park. When water flows over the ground, it picks up everything and washes it into storm drains. Water flows through the storm drains to your local river or lake without being treated.
- Maintain your car properly, so motor oil and other fluids do not leak from you car and get washed into storm drains. Also, keeping your car in good working order will lead to better gas mileage and less tailpipe emissions.
- Use a non-phosphate detergent to wash your clothes and even your car. This decreases the amount of nutrients entering our lakes and streams.
- Properly dispose of pet waste instead of leaving it on the driveway, street, sidewalk, or lawn. Animal waste carries disease-causing bacteria that make water unsafe for swimming and other recreation.
- Participate in a river or lake clean-up and talk to your neighbors about actions you can take to protect the future of Illinois’ precious water resources.