We spend a lot of time on Earth Day focused on conservation. In the past we’ve written some great blogs on conscious water use and septic systems and water conservation tips for your home. But what other things can we do to save the earth and conserve natural resources? I’m sure you all are still seeing photos and articles on the water quality issues that we’re facing in Southwest Florida. The state of Florida, with methods approved by the EPA, is disposing of more than 960 million gallons of partially treated wastewater into our waters, deep injection wells and other methods that put our water supply at risk every single day. Rainwater runoff from your home also goes through wastewater facilities. How can you help control the water quality in Southwest Florida so that you don’t pollute our waterways? Here are just a few tips:
- Stop getting chemical lawn treatments.
Let me ask you a question – what is the true value of a green lawn? Yes, the homeowners association likes it and it looks like your neighbors’ lawns. Maybe you win an award for having the best kept yard, but at what expense does that award come? Nitrogen based fertilizers and other chemical pesticides and treatments used on your lawn can run off in the rain and head straight to our waterways. Eliminating chemical lawn treatments (minimally in the summer) will help keep those chemicals out of our waters and help with nitrogen levels in our waterways.
- Stick with septic.
Septic systems are scapegoated for many of the water qualities issues in Florida, without looking at the dumping that is occurring on an everyday basis by our public wastewater facilities. Septic systems are not only less expensive than central sewer to maintain, but they also consume less energy and have a more efficient method for recharging your groundwater aquifers. Connecting to municipal wastewater facilities is extremely expensive and inefficient, not to mention you have no control over how that water is handled once it is partially treated. Keep your water local with efficient, biological treatment methods that don’t require additional energy to operate.
- Demand better from your government.
Local residents in Cape Coral are still being forced to fund the municipal wastewater facility, connecting to it and abandoning their septic systems that they’ve been told are polluting the canals. The reality is that with some closer maintenance and education, homeowners could save thousands of dollars. While most of the plans have already been laid out for the connection schedule, talking to your government can prevent the growth of this plan. Your septic system is an environmentally responsible way to manage your wastewater and there is truly nothing wrong with well-maintained septic systems. The City of Cape Coral disposes of their effluent (partially treated wastewater) in deep injection wells, which is a step above dumping into our waterways, but still puts our underground water resources at risk for contamination.
- Maintain your septic system.
Poorly maintained septic systems can contaminate groundwater resources. If you’ve recently purchased your house, or cannot remember when your last pumpout and inspection was, it’s time to schedule it. Understanding the condition of your drainfield, septic system and tank is important to avoid emergency backup situations and the leaking of sewage into the ground.
Happy Earth Day from all of us at Crews Environmental. We hope that you’re taking a moment today to explore your impact on the earth, whether that’s with water and energy conservation or doing your best to improve the water quality situation in Southwest Florida. Every little bit helps. Help us educate others about wastewater and septic systems in order to help our residents make the best possible decisions for the Earth.