Do Your Part for Cleaner Water and a Healthier Environment

Clean Water Tip #1: Scoop Your Dog's Poop

Every time you turn on the faucet, you have a local waterway to thank for the clean water that comes flowing out.  And every time your kids or pets play in a river or lake, they're enjoying rainwater that landed on a home, business, street, or sidewalk somewhere upstream from your location.

When our ancestors first built arrived in this area, those waterways (Charles River and Alewife Brook) were surrounded by vast forests and the waterways were sparkling clean. But today, our waterways are surrounded by buildings, roads and parking lots.  And our waterways just aren't as clean as they could be.  But if everybody does their part and takes some simple steps to make a difference, our rivers could be clean and sparkling again!


Clean Water Tip #1: Scoop Your Dog's Poop
You hate stepping in it. And fish hate swimming in it, too!  Regularly scoop your dog's poop from public areas AND your back yard, before it washes into our waterways. Pet waste left on grass or sidewalks doesn't stay there. Every time it rains, the waste breaks down and washes into either the Charles River or the Alewife Brook. Please dispose of pet waste properly in a trash can or pet waste station.

Clean Water Tip #2: Catch Your Rain 
Capture the rain that falls on your property in a rain barrel, rain garden, or on the leaves of your trees and shrubs. You’ll reduce flooding and keep our waterways clean. When rainwater runs across dirty areas (like streets, sidewalks, and construction sites), it carries that pollution into our waterways. When you keep that water onsite, you can use it yourself or let it soak into the ground or evaporate, instead of picking up trash and pollution on its way to the Charles River or Alewife Brook. 

Clean Water Tip #3: Test Your Soil and Read Your Fertilizer Labels
Test your soil and read the label before you apply fertilizer. If you use too much fertilizer, the excess will just wash away in the next rain, polluting the Charles River or Alewife Brook.
If you need to use fertilizer, slow release and phosphorous-free fertilizer are safer for the environment.  And if your yard doesn't need fertilizer, there's still plenty that you can do each spring. You can spread fresh grass seed, aerate your soil, plant some of those native shrubs you've been eyeing or create a rain garden.

Clean Water Tip #4: Bag or Compost Your Grass
In the spring, bag your grass clippings for curbside pickup. Even better, compost them to make a natural fertilizer for your garden. But whatever you do, don't dump them in a storm drain or leave them on the sidewalk!  When grass clippings decay in your composter, that's healthy fertilizer. But when they rot in local waterways, that's water pollution!

Clean Water Tip #5: Bag or Compost Your Leaves
In the spring, bag your grass clippings for curbside pickup. Even better, compost them to make a natural fertilizer for your garden. But whatever you do, don't dump them in a storm drain or leave them on the sidewalk!  When fallen leaves decay in your composter, that's healthy fertilizer. But when they rot in local waterways, that's water pollution!

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Dept of Public Works

147 Hampshire St
Cambridge MA 02139

Phone:617.349.4800
TDD:617.499.9924

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Monday: 8:30am-8pm
Tuesday-Thursday: 8:30am-5pm
Friday: 8:30am-12pm