Northwest NEWS

May 29, 2000


Water cycle starts and ends with you

   Most people are not aware of how easy it is to help streams by just adjusting a few home chores. What you do as an individual has a tremendous impact on your water community. An individual does not realize how gardening, lawn care, and car care can be harmful, but easily altered to not be a nuisance to the environment.

   Your car is probably one of the worst things that could happen to our environment: the oil, washing your car, antifreeze, coolants, and zinc from your tires. When you change your oil at home, do not let any get on your driveway or the street. If your oil leaks and leaves an oil spot wherever you go, then you are doing harm everywhere. When it rains, the water will take the oil to the nearest storm drain or the nearest water source. If you see any oil leaking from your car, you must have it immediately fixed. All the contributions add up to a lot.

   If you are a person who washes his car in the driveway, you need to listen. Do not ever let the soapsuds drain into the storm drains. The soapy water will go straight into your closest water source, such as a lake, pond or stream. Wash your car on your lawn. You may think that it will damage your lawn, but it won't. Just use less soap if you are worried--you do not need a lot of soap to wash your car. By washing your car on the lawn, the used water will have a chance to be filtered naturally.

   Your lawn has many wonderful things, but the most hated things in a lawn are weeds--too many for a quick pull. Blasting the weeds with chemical will kill the weeds, but damage the surrounding lawn environment. Putting chemicals on the grass is putting your lawn on drugs. Pulling the weeds is not hard; make sure the roots are out completely when you pull them. The chemicals would make the weeds die slowly, but pulling your weed is instantaneous. The chemicals will leach into the storm drains, or into the nearby streams/water source.

   Most of your town is a non-permeable surface, like roofs, driveways, walkways, and streets. When it rains, the rain will run off those surfaces and collect all that comes in contact with the water. The soapsuds will go into the storm drains; gardening chemicals will go into the storm drains; every thing will go into the storm drains. Unless you help your streams, you will suffer, because the water cycle starts and ends with you.

Sean Hill, Bothell