Environmental Tip of the Month
July 3, 2013
Fall Cleanup Pointers
Many of us take advantage of the milder fall weather to tackle outdoor chores. Here are some reminders to help you take care of the environment as you accomplish your work.
If you have a swimming pool that you have enjoyed this summer, you also have the opportunity to do your pool maintenance in an environmentally-friendly way. We encourage you to drain your pool water to the sanitary sewer system through your household plumbing. Filter backwash, debris and chemicals make this water unsafe for disposal to our waterways. Clear water with the chlorine removed can be used on your lawn, but you must prevent it from flowing onto neighbors’ yards. You can use a hose to control the drainage rate. It is not acceptable to drain your pool water into the street, because it will flow to a storm drain and eventually to a creek or stream. Be aware that illicit discharges to the storm sewer system are prohibited by Independence City Code Section 7.08.003.A.
Storm drains, gutters, and swales need to be clear so that rain can flow freely throughout the storm drainage system. When you do yard work, you should not sweep, blow or allow grass clippings to go onto the curb, street or into storm drain inlets. Piles of grass clippings, brush and leaves can be composted for later use as a soil conditioner and to protect bare ground from erosion. Lawn clippings can be easily left on the ground during mowing so that nutrients are reused by the grass. When you mow, direct the discharge back onto your lawn and not out in the street. Check out the opportunities for disposal of yard waste at area recycling centers or through your trash hauler and plan your yard work to take advantage of these services. Don’t blow your leaves out in the street!
Many outdoor cleaning jobs can produce runoff, containing chemicals and detergents. Be sure to use products in the correct amounts for the size of the job. If there are storm drain inlets or swales near where you are working, discharges of chemicals and debris must not be allowed to flow into them. All automotive wastes must be properly disposed of or taken for recycling. Never pour used oil onto the ground, into a storm drain or ditches. Used oil is not a safe weed killer! If you fertilize, consider slow-release products, especially in areas with sandy or compacted soil, steep slopes and near waterways. This can prevent excess leaching of the fertilizer into groundwater and reduce the potential for pollution of streams. Buy the amount that you need to use at one time. Leftovers are considered hazardous waste and must be disposed of properly.
Take the opportunity to participate in community cleanup activities. You can help to spread this useful information so that we all can keep our environment clean, safe and healthy. Call Independence Water Pollution Control at 325-7711 for further information. Visit our website at www.ci.independence.mo.us/wpc.