What can I do about Nonpoint Source Pollution

Water quality affects all Wyoming citizens.  In addition to providing safe drinking water, clean water supports agriculture, recreation, and tourism, and is necessary for healthy ecosystems. 

Even if we don’t live next to a stream or river, activities that each of us do can affect water quality.  At any moment, we are each located in a watershed.  A watershed is an area of land that drains to a common point, usually a stream, river, wetland, or lake.  Think of a big bathtub!  Watersheds can be very small, just a few acres, or they can be very large, encompassing a good portion of the state or multiple states, depending on what drainage point you are considering.  Small watersheds make up larger watersheds. 

Runoff from rainfall events or snowmelt travels over and through the land in a watershed.  As it does, it may pick up pollutants that are ultimately deposited into streams, rivers, or lakes within the watershed.  Thus activities that occur throughout the watershed, not only those directly adjacent to waterbodies, can affect the quality of water that we each rely on for drinking water, fishing, boating, agriculture, and many other uses.

Therefore, restoration and protection of our water quality resources is something each citizen can help achieve.  Some restoration and protection projects require extensive planning and coordination between local organizations, private landowners, and government agencies.  However, there are also simple activities that each of us can do to prevent nonpoint source pollution to Wyoming’s streams, lakes and rivers.  Residents should understand that while the actions of a single person may seem insignificant, when combined with similar actions of hundreds or thousands of other residents, the potential to pollute their local waters is very real.  The quart of oil dumped down a storm drain by one person on a given Saturday may be repeated hundreds of times that day.  Thus, while each of the following activities may seem minor, the combined effort of citizens across the state can make a major improvement in our water quality!  

 

Ten Simple Things You Can Do To Prevent Nonpoint Source Pollution

  • Use the minimal amount of fertilizers and pesticides needed for your lawn or garden. Read label directions carefully!  Do not apply pesticides or fertilizers to your lawn or garden before or during rain.
  • Consider planting native plant species in your yard that use less water and have fewer or no pesticide and fertilizer requirements. 
  • Establish plants on bare areas of your yard to prevent soil erosion.
  • Keep lawn clippings, leaves, and other yard waste out of storm drains and gutters.  Compost yard waste and kitchen waste and leave lawn clippings on your lawn.
  • Make sure that household chemicals and automotive products such as paints, cleaners, oil, and antifreeze are disposed of properly.  Contact your local government to see if there is a hazardous household waste collection program in your community.  Select less-toxic or non-toxic household cleaners when possible.  
  • If caring for livestock on your property, manage animal waste to minimize mixing with stormwater runoff.
  • Pick up pet waste.
  • Clean up spilled oil, antifreeze and brake fluids.  Never put used oil or other chemicals down storm drains and street gutters—these outlets drain directly to our streams, rivers, and lakes!
  • Wash your car on the grass or at a car wash.  Washing your car on the driveway means that soap and dirt will wash into the nearest storm drain.

More ideas on EPA’s Website “What You Can Do To Prevent NPS Pollution”

More ideas on the City of Casper’s Stormwater Management Website