12 ways people like you are protecting water

People who want to protect Minnesota's water are doing these things at home. Join in! It's the combined actions of many of us that can have the greatest impact.

What you can do at home

Make sure your septic system is functioning properly — a poorly functioning septic system can allow pathogens, nutrients, and other chemicals to enter groundwater or lakes and streams.

Pick up pet waste from sidewalks and yards — leaving dog waste on the ground allows harmful bacteria and nutrients to wash into the storm drain and eventually into local water bodies.

Use non-toxic cleaners, soaps, and personal products at home — find alternatives for laundry soaps, cleaning sprays, insecticides, and other products that may be harmful to human health or the environment.

Dispose of medications at drop-sites (best) or securely in the garbage (second best), not in the drain or toilet! — medicines flushed down the drain can pollute our water and unintentionally expose us to harmful chemicals.

Create places for water to soak into the ground: rain gardens, native plant gardens, swales — this slows the water down, rather than allowing it to rapidly run into storm sewers, lakes, and rivers.

Let plants grow along shorelines — native plants and trees reduce the flow of run-off, decrease erosion and increase infiltration of rainwater.

Follow directions for storing and disposing of products labeled with caution, warning, danger, or poison — and remember the best way to handle household hazardous waste is to prevent it in the first place.

Decrease water use, especially by reducing summer landscape watering — demand for community water is much higher in summer than in winter, due in part to outdoor watering.

Have unused, unsealed wells sealed by a licensed water well contractor — an unused well can act like a drain, allowing surface water runoff, contaminated water, or improperly disposed waste a direct pathway into drinking water sources.

Minimize use of fertilizers and pesticides — to keep them out of water.

Follow DNR guidelines for preventing the spread of invasive species — our gear can unintentionally move invasive plants and animals to new areas.

Participate in decisions about water in your community — using this link, find your watershed and click on contacts for a list local organizations. Join their mailing lists and watch for events or volunteer opportunities. Become a volunteer water monitor. Encourage your city to become a Minnesota GreenStep City. Start small and add effort where you find reward and joy.