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Keeping Our Water Clean

Although many places suffer from dirty rivers and lakes, the good news is that there is a lot you and your family can do to conserve water and help keep it clean.

Want to conserve and protect the water in your community? Try some of these ideas.

  1. Help clean up streams
    Organize or participate in stream cleanups. Ask your parents and friends to help out. Get your class or school to adopt a stream.
  2. Plant vegetation along stream banks
    Organize a project with your school, environmental club or Scout troop to plant trees, shrubs and grasses along stream banks. That will stabilize banks to help prevent erosion, reduce sediment, filter runoff and provide shade and wildlife habitat.
  3. Partner with professionals
    Get your teacher to ask local, state or federal agencies to partner with your school in supporting such environmental activities as storm drain stenciling, stream monitoring and environmental fairs.
  4. Never pour chemicals down sinks or toilets
    Chemicals that we use in our homes every day—paint, cleaning sprays, weed killer, bug killer and many others—should never end up in our water. Read the label and call your city’s waste disposal department to find out how to dispose of these products. Some places have special hazardous-waste drop-offs where you can get rid of harmful products safely. Encourage your parents to use less fertilizer and pesticides and to recycle motor oil, antifreeze and paint.
  5. Use safe products whenever you can
    Talk with your parents about replacing some of the toxic chemicals in your home with nontoxic products. The more safe products people use, the fewer unhealthy chemicals end up in our waters.
  6. Recycle and dispose of all trash properly
    Never flush stuff like plastic sandwich baggies or band-aids down the toilet. Things that aren’t biodegradable—that don’t break down naturally by themselves—can damage sewers and wind up littering beaches and waters.

The Groundwater Foundation has lots of advice on how kids can help protect water resources.