Winter weather brings with it deicer, salt, and sand application. This relates to our municipal operations as well as citizens within our municipalities. Here are some reminders for this season to help protect water quality.
The amount of phosphorus in grass clippings generated from just one lawn mowing can produce up to 100 lbs. of unwanted algae if it ends up in our lakes and ponds. Leaf “litter” and landscape trash account for 56% of the phosphorus in urban stormwater, in addition to clogging storm drains and increasing debris in our streams and waterways.
Reusing, recycling, and composting your leaves keeps them from going to landfills, which helps the community meet zero waste and climate action goals, and can save community members money by avoiding extra charges on trash bills.
It is common for organic matter naturally found in our waterways to decompose, releasing fatty molecules (lipids) that produce the foam we see on the surface of the water. This happens every year, usually during the spring runoff season, but it can also occur during periods of high precipitation and high temperatures in summer and fall months. The foam is most apparent at locations where the water is naturally agitated by flowing over rocks or discharging from pipes. The foam produced may be more than a foot deep!
In the United States, pet dogs produce 21.2 billion pounds of poop each year. All that poop is polluting water sources, both in urban areas and the backcountry, largely because dog owners aren’t doing a good enough job picking it up. Let’s look at the reasons why dog poop has become such a problem, and examine what we can do about it.
Why Dog Poop Matters
Two reasons: There’s too much of it and it’s full of bacteria and parasites.