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 Your Leaves
After enjoying the colors of fall, bag your leaves for curbside pickup. But when they rot in local waterways, that's water pollution!  Help keep leaves off the sidewalk and gutter line by bagging these too! Leaves can contribute to flooding when blocking catch basins, and can ultimately end up flowing to the river.

Clean Water Tip #6: Use Deicers Smartly and Sparingly

We have a shared responsibility for keeping our community safe and accessible during the winter, but we also share responsibility for protecting our environment.
  • Use deicer (sodium acetate, potassium acetate, and calcium magnesium acetate) instead of salt (sodium chloride, calcium chloride, and magnesium chloride).
  • Shovel early and often. Remove as much snow and ice as you can, and only use deicer on what you can’t take care of with a shovel.
  • Follow product instructions and only use as much deicer as you need. More is not better.
  • For heavy snowfalls, shovel early and often to avoid the snow compacting and forming ice.
  • For wet snow or sleet and freezing rain, apply deicer product early on to prevent snow from bonding or ice from building up.

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