Delaware's waterways and what you can do to protect them
There are always things that you can do in your everyday life, no matter where you live, to help protect the waterways that serve as our drinking water sources, habitat for wildlife, and places of recreation.
Maintain a Healthy Lawn and Garden
A healthy lawn and garden makes a home more attractive and is also environmentally beneficial. Healthy lawns and gardens, coupled with native trees and shrubs, can help prevent erosion and runoff. However, lawns can also be a source of pollution if proper lawn-care techniques are not followed.
Perform soil tests to determine the amount of nutrients necessary for your healthy lawn. You may be applying more fertilizer than is necessary. Contact your local cooperative extension for more information and test kits.
Do not overwater your lawn or garden. Excessive watering can cause chemicals to leach into groundwater and can make plants more prone to disease. Make sure when watering, sprinklers are aimed at grass and flower beds and not driveways, sidewalks, and roads, which wastes the water and increases pollution.
Other Outdoor Practices
Pick up your pet’s waste when you’re in your backyard, at the local park, or on a walk in your community. When it rains, water runs along the ground picking up your pet’s waste and the bacteria found in it, and goes directly into our storm drains that flow untreated into our waterways.
When washing your car, take your car to a car wash because they collect and recycle the water to use again. If you want to wash your car at home, wash it on your grass so that the water can be absorbed by the ground and not run off into storm drains.
Keep Septic Systems Functioning Properly
Septic systems require periodic check-ups and proper care to function properly. They must have a healthy diet to minimize groundwater contamination as well as costly repair bills. Each septic system contributes nutrients to groundwater (about 18.25 lbs of nitrogen and 0.7 lbs of phosphorous per year).
Don't drive over absorption fields. This can cause compacting, which can result in clogging. Do not plant trees over the system or construct walkways, patios, swimming pools, or other permanent structures over or within the leach line.
Reduce Household Hazardous Waste