State University of New York Institute of Technology
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Keep Water Clean (6)

Tips on how to keep rivers, streams, lakes, ponds, acres of wetlands and extensive aquifers clean.

  • Return used motor oil for recycling
    Never pour oil onto the street or down a storm drain. It'll wash, untreated, into the nearest waterbody. Most New York service stations accept used oil. Some municipalities also collect used oil as part of a community household hazardous waste collection.
  • Use a commercial car wash
    Or wash your car on the lawn to keep dirty, soapy water from flowing into storm drains and eventually into your local streams and lakes.
  • Sweep sidewalks and driveways
    Hosing yard debris off hard surfaces just washes it into storm drains. Compost yard waste instead.
  • Fight mud
    Cover areas of bare soil with mulch, or plant grass or ground covers to keep rain from washing soil into storm drains, ditches, streams and lakes. Fine soil particles, or sediment, can suffocate fish and destroy their habitat.
  • Leave a un-mowed buffer next to streams and lakes
    A buffer strip filters the pollutants carried by storm runoff, stops erosion of banks and helps prevent flooding downstream. A buffer of native plants also benefits wildlife and beautifies your backyard.
  • Flush responsibly
    Rather than flushing, dispose of cleansers, beauty products, medicine, auto fluids, paint, and lawn care products at a local household hazardous waste facility or take pharmaceuticals to special collection days. Septic systems and wastewater treatment can't handle these materials.
  • Into the trash, not the drain
    Dispose of excess fats and grease, diapers, condoms, and personal hygiene products in the garbage can. These materials can clog pipes and cause raw sewage to overflow.

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