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Water Quality Month

August is National Water Quality Month and Universal Home Experts wants to help further the discussion. Many people don’t realize how interlinked our water systems are, but according to the Audubon Society, there are serious dangers in the runoff from agriculture, forestry, construction and residential property (also called urban runoff). The many pollutants that are introduced into streams through runoff include dangerous herbicides, fertilizers, insecticides and toxic chemicals (carcinogenic hydrocarbons) from motor vehicles. The problem is so widespread the EPA estimates that approximately 40 percent of rivers, lakes and estuaries have water quality problems.

We have collected tips from Clean Water Action and other environmental groups on practical ways to help prevent water pollution.

Do not use antibacterial soap or cleaning products. Many of these products contain trichlosan, a pesticide that has been known to harm aquatic life. Regular soap and water work just as effectively.

Do not flush medication down the sink/toilet. If you don’t have a pharmaceutical take-back program, remove the labels from your drug bottles and throw them in the garbage. Consider pouring vinegar in the bottle to destroy the pills to ensure they are inaccessible.

Information on Pharmaceutical Take-Back Collection Programs

Do not use the toilet as a trash can. Tissues, dental floss, dust clothes and feminine hygiene products are often thrown in the toilet; harming your plumbing and contaminating the sewer system. Make sure that every bathroom has a wastebasket close by.

Do not put anything but water down storm drains. Drains carry water to local waterways, which are often contaminated by motor oil, lawn fertilizer, pesticides and other toxins.

Be mindful of car leaks. If your car has an oil leak, fix it immediately. Rain runoff is filled with oil and other toxic materials from motor vehicles. Consider putting a liner in your driveway to safely collect oil and other liquids from your automobile.

Avoid pesticides or chemical fertilizers. Look for natural alternatives to the toxic lawn and garden products that can harm both people and wildlife. These chemicals also pollute both ground and surface water.

12 Organic Fertilizers and Natural Bug Repellants

Buy nontoxic household products. Keep harmful toxins out of your home as well by using only natural cleaning products. About half of the most popular cleaning products cause lung and respiratory problems – and will eventually find their way into the water system.

12 Chemical-Free Cleaning Recipes

Use less plastic. Plastic is difficult to break down and recycle – and much of it ends up in our water supply. Try not to buy bottled water and reuse any plastic items that you already have as often as possible. Glass bottles are much better for the environment.

What is Plastic Pollution?

Use the garbage disposal less. Even though the garbage disposal has become ubiquitous in U.S. homes, it is best to keep usage to a minimum. The organic items that the disposal breaks down are harmful to the water supply. Consider starting a compost in your yard, which is good for the yard and the environment. If that’s not a realistic solution, throw away all your organic trash in the garbage.

Clean up after pets. Make sure to pick up the waste your leaves (whether walking them throughout the neighborhood or in your yard). Pet waste is also washed down storm drains, spreading bacteria.

Plant a tree. A tree near a body of water will act as a natural filtration system. Trees also absorb excess rainwater, reducing the amount of polluted runoff.

Become a Trees for Houston Volunteer

Do not pave over your property. A paved area promotes polluted runoff and causes flooding. Water that soaks into the ground will dilute contaminates, help prevent flooding and keep groundwater supplies healthy.

The water supply in Houston is one of the worst rated in the country. It’s up to all of us to try to do our part to protect our drinking water. Just incorporating a few of the tips provided will go a long way in helping the cause. One small way to help is to get rid of water bottle use and invest in a water filtration system. The professionals at Universal Home Experts can help you choose and install a system that is ideal for your household. Call us at (713) 364-0226 to schedule an appointment today!