It's up to all of us to make it happen. In recent years "point" sources of water pollution like industrial wastes from factories have been greatly reduced. Now, more than 60 percent of water pollution comes from diffuse or "non-point sources" like cars leaking oil, fertilizers from farms and gardens, and failing septic systems. All these sources add up to a big pollution problem. But each of us can do small things to help clean up our water too—and that adds up to a pollution solution!
Why do we need clean water?
Having clean water is of primary importance for our health, environment and economy. Clean water provides recreation, commercial opportunities, fish habitat, drinking water and adds beauty to our landscape. All of us benefit from clean water—and all of us have a role in getting and keeping our groundwater, lakes, streams and Hudson River clean.
What's the problem with fertilizer?
Fertilizer isn't a problem—if it's used carefully. If you use too much fertilizer or apply it at the wrong time, it can easily wash off your lawn or garden into storm drains and then flow untreated into lakes or streams. Just like in your garden, fertilizer in lakes and streams makes plants grow. In water bodies, extra fertilizer can mean extra algae and aquatic plant growth. Too much algae harms water quality and makes boating, fishing and swimming unpleasant. As algae decays, it uses up oxygen in the water that fish and other wildlife need.
Clean Water Tips:
How can you fertilize and help keep our waters clean?
• Use fertilizers sparingly. Many plants do not need as much fertilizer or need it as often as you might think.
• Don't fertilize before a rain storm.
• Consider using organic fertilizers; they release nutrients more slowly.
• Use commercially available compost or make your own using garden waste. Mixing compost with your soil means your plants will need less chemical fertilizer and puts your waste to good use. Commercial compost and soil amendments may be available from your solid waste or wastewater utility as well as your local garden store.
For more information on fertilizing, alternatives and composting,
call the Dutchess County Soil and Water Conservation District at (845) 677-8011 ext. 3, or visit their website at http://dutchess.ny.nacdnet.org/
Special thanks to the Dutchess County Water Quality Strategy Committee and the Hudson Valley Regional Council.
This information is brought to you by the Dutchess County Soil and Water Conservation District. Established in 1945, the Dutchess County Soil and Water Conservation District has been working with individuals for over 50 years to coordinate state and federal conservation programs at a local level. The District provides technical assistance and education on soil, water, and related natural resources. Municipalities, fanners, and landowners use this information in making proper land use decisions.