What are the major water pollutants
There are several classes of water pollutants; The first are disease-causing agents. These are bacteria, viruses, protozoa and parasitic worms that enter sewage systems and untreated waste. A second category of water pollutants is oxygen-demanding wastes; wastes that can be decomposed by oxygen-requiring bacteria. When large populations of decomposing bacteria are converting these wastes it can deplete oxygen levels in the water. This causes other organisms in the water, such as fish, to die. A third class of water pollutants is water-soluble inorganic pollutants, such as acids, salts and toxic metals. Large quantities of these compounds will make water unfit to drink and will cause the death of aquatic life. Another class of water pollutants are nutrients; they are water-soluble nitrates and phosphates that cause excessive growth of algae and other water plants, which deplete the water's oxygen supply. This kills fish and, when found in drinking water, can kill young children. Water can also be polluted by a number of organic compounds such as oil, plastics and pesticides, which are harmful to humans and all plants and animals in the water. A very dangerous category is suspended sediment, because it causes depletion in the water's light absorption and the particles spread dangerous compounds such as pesticides through the water. Finally, water-soluble radioactive compounds can cause cancer, birth defects and genetic damage and are thus very dangerous water pollutants.


Storm water Runoff

Storm water runoff is unfiltered water that reaches streams, lakes, sounds, and oceans by means of flowing across impervious surfaces. These surfaces include roads, parking lots, driveways, and roofs. It is important to understand the impact that storm water runoff has on all of us. First, it is important to understand how water cycles through the urban environment.

How water recycles itself
The water cycle is the process by which water is recycled. To many people, recycling seems like a fairly new concept. Actually, water has been recycling itself for thousands of years. This natural water recycling system is highly sophisticated and successful. What goes around comes around!

An ideal water cycle:
Once rain falls on the earth, it follows one of four paths:
It soaks into porous ground surfaces and becomes part of the groundwater, which feeds streams and wetlands and supplies much of our drinking water;
It remains in lakes or topsoil and eventually evaporates;
It is absorbed by vegetation and then transpires from the plant tissues; or
It forms streams and rivers that eventually empty to the Sea.

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Watersheds
Whereas a water cycle is the process of recycling, a watershed is the vehicle by which water is recycled. Without watersheds, the loop in which water is recycled would be broken. A watershed is measured by the hilltops and ridges that are its boundaries. It is shaped by the hills, valleys, and plains that are the landscape and is tempered by forests, fields, lakes and marshes that are habitats for its creatures. Most of us know a watershed through its rivers and streams that connect forest with farm, farm with city. Each of us changes the watershed day by day, bit by bit, as we go about the business of our lives.

So what's the problem?
When land is left in its natural state, the majority of rainfall soaks into forests and meadows, flows slowly underground, is filtered by natural processes, and eventually feeds streams, lakes and underground aquifers. The natural process of water soaking into the earth is destroyed when we cover the land with buildings, roads, and parking lots. The existing meadows and forests are replaced with roofs, concrete, and asphalt; all of which do not allow rain to penetrate the earth. Instead, the fallen rain quickly runs directly into storm drains, ditches, and streams, all without the benefit of filtration. To add to this problem, the water that is running directly into the streams is often picking up pollutants along the way. These pollutants can include motor oils and gasoline that leak from vehicles, fertilizers and pesticides from lawns and gardens, and anything else that will float or dissolve in water. Pollution by this means is called non-point pollution, and is a huge problem.

What you can do
If you burn fuel to heat your home, use a car, truck, bus, boat, train, airplane, or buy products transported by any of these, you contribute to non-point pollution. Although one person's contribution to non-point pollution may seem insignificant, the combined effects of many humans could greatly influence water quality and quantity in our lakes, streams, wetlands, sounds and seas. We must work together to control non-point pollution and protect our valuable resources. The following handy tips will help us reduce our pollution of storm water. With your help, we can work to make storm water runoff cleaner, which in turn, makes our world a better place to live.
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Sidewalks and driveways
Streets and driveways are sources of water pollution. Oil leaking from cars is a major cause of water pollution. Spilled or leaked antifreeze kills fish when it reaches streams. Remember, most of the water from your driveway and sidewalk flows directly into streams without treatment.

Car and Driveway
Recycle your used crankcase oil and fix that leaky crankcase or transmission.
Pave your driveway with lattice block pavers instead of concrete or asphalt.
Keep suds out of the storm drains. Use low-phosphate soaps when you wash your car. Wash your car on the lawn rather than the driveway. Do not dump detergents or cleaning compounds into local waterways. Consider washing your car at a carwash because they have to dispose of the wash water properly.
Sweep walkways and driveways rather than hosing debris into storm drain.

Lawn and Garden
Fertilize wisely and use pesticides only when necessary. Pesticides can be toxic to fish and can contaminate drinking water. Chemical and organic fertilizers both can cause excessive plant growth in water. When these plants die, they rob the water of oxygen and this can kill fish. Compost your yard wastes and keep grass clippings out of ravines and waterways, where they will become unwanted fertilizer. Encourage insect-eating birds and "friendly" insects like ladybugs and lace-wings. Attract birds by providing tree cover and food during winter. Never spray pesticides or fertilizers near ditches, lakes, or bays and spray on cool, windless days. Dispose of lawn and garden chemicals carefully. Follow instructions on the container. Never dump them down the drains, in the gutter or near water.

Gardening for Clean Water
Whether your garden is two feet or two miles from the nearest stream, lake or sea… it affects our water quality. Garden with native plants, native plants are best suited to where you live so they require little or no additional water after they become established. They are also more disease susceptible, requiring less fertilizers and pesticides. Seek non-chemical solutions to plant pest problems, some chemicals may remain in the environment for many years, accumulating to cause damage to aquatic life. Additionally, chemicals may pose a health risk.

Control runoff and erosion
Removing vegetation or covering the ground with pavement and buildings prevents water from soaking into the soil. During rainstorms, this water flows across the ground, picking up oil, pesticides, fertilizers, grit, or anything else that will float, dissolve or be moved along. These pollutants are carried into surface and ground water so retain natural ground cover whenever possible. Stabilize areas of bare soil with vegetation as soon as possible after grading and keep existing trees and bushes and plant more trees and shrubs as they capture and hold a lot of rain before it reaches the ground. Avoid landscaping plastic, large plastic sheets used to prevent erosion or weeds create as much runoff as paved streets. Use burlap on hillsides and perforated landscaping fabrics on level areas. Direct storm water to its' proper place; Roof drains, driveway drains, and yard drains connected to the sanitary sewer take up valuable capacity. Direct the water over lawns or construct French drains (gravel-filled trenches) whenever possible. Collect roof water with a rain barrel and use the collected water for the garden.
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More tips
Clean up pet wastes. Run off can carry wastes into lakes and streams. Either bury pet wastes or flush them down the toilet.

Drain hot tubs and swimming pools away from waterways and storm sewers. Chlorinated water is deadly to fish and aquatic life, and should be drained onto the ground or into domestic sewers.

If you have an on-site septic system, maintain it properly. Runoff from failing systems can contaminate beaches, making shellfish inedible. It can also cause nearby waters to be unhealthy for wading or swimming. Inspect your system every 3 years for sludge build-up, and have the tank pumped. Alternative systems, such as mound or sand filter, may need more frequent maintenance. If you notice signs of a failing system (water pooling in your yard, foul odours, dark grey or black stains in the soil/ drainfield, backed-up toilets) contact a septic professional for advice.

Don't alter natural waterways. Although well intentioned, any changes you make to your stream could destroy spawning beds and fish eggs or block fish migration. Do not build ponds and dams without proper guidance and approval.
Get Involved! Organize a neighborhood storm drain stenciling project. Label your local storm drains, "Drains to Bay, Dump No Pollutants"--and help keep our waters clean.

Report pollution in storm drains. If you see suds, oil sheen, grease or excess sediment in a storm drain, call your local authorities.
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Water Pollution is not just a problem
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MadMermaids Karma T-shirt Design
We all need some good Karma so wear the Karma water pollution T-shirt by MadMermaids to spread water pollution awareness. The Karma design T-shirt is for sale along with others in our online shop. The wording on the T-shirt "You Dump it, You Drink it" is not only aimed at the big polluters but reminds us all that water pollution like global warming is something that we all need to address in our own lifestyle choices... Please read the helpful hints below.
(T-Shirt Back)
What is water pollution
Water pollution is any chemical, physical or biological change in the quality of water that has a harmful effect on any living thing that drinks or uses or lives in it. When humans drink polluted water it often has serious effects on their health. Water pollution is not just something that big chemical plants make. We all need to look at our impacts and try to make improvements. Make sure you use biodegradable products made with natural products and make sure all waste is disposed of properly as the Karma T-shirt says “You dump it, you drink it”.