You Can Make a Difference
Maine's industries and municipalities have done a great job cleaning
up industrial pollution, sewer discharges and other major sources of contamination.
Now the main polluter of clean water is us. Every time it rains, the rainwater
washes off our driveways, roofs, lawns, parking lots, roads and other
surfaces carrying with it contaminants to our streams, lakes, ocean and
groundwater - this is called non-point
source pollution. Each and every one of us can help, and here's
Eroded sediment from disturbed sites, roads, trails, driveways and other
areas is the single greatest threat to water quality n our watershed.
It carries nutrients, fills in our streams and ponds and damages fish
habitat. To prevent soil erosion, minimize disturbed areas during construction
projects and seed and mulch bare areas as soon as possible.
Create and maintain shoreland vegetated
A strip of bushes and trees, known as a buffer,
can act as a sponge and filter out contaminants that wash from your driveway,
roof, and yard. It can also prevent soil erosion. Since water flows downhill,
it is important for the buffer to be planted down slope of your home in
order to filter the runoff from your yard. Native shrubs and vegetation
will tend to be more hardy and last longer as a measure against soil erosion.
Do not clearcut buffers along the water as they are needed to stabilize
banks and to shade the water to keep streams cool for fish.
Minimize or avoid use of pesticides
your lawn and garden can result in an excess of phosphorus
and other nutrients that can cause algal blooms in our lakes and contaminate
ground water. When using fertilizer, read and follow the directions on
the label - applying only the amount recommended. And try using lime and
organic mulch or compost as an alternative to fertilizer. If you want
to keep weeds in check without chemicals, there are organic
ways to control weeds, too.
Keep your lawn
lawns might look nice to you and me, but Mother Nature sees them differently.
Lawns shed more water than forested areas, thus increasing the amount
of water leaving your yard and carrying contaminants to nearby streams,
lakes, or ocean. To protect water, keep your lawn small. The bonus - a
small lawn is easier to mow and a nice
habitat for wildlife! Please consider lowering your expectations of
perfection and raising your lawn mower blade instead.
Dispose of chemicals
and petroleum products properly.
Ensure that hazardous wastes don't damage our water or groundwater
resources. Chemicals should not be poured down the sink or dumped in your
backyard. Recycle antifreeze and oil. Let solvents evaporate in their
containers and then dispose of the residue. Use and dispose of chemicals
according to the directions on their labels and use safe alternatives.
Maintain your septic
Septic systems need attention. Inadequate septic systems account
for 5-10% of all phosphorus that reaches some lakes. In addition, toxins,
nitrates, nutrients, bacteria and viruses from inadequate septic systems
can seep into nearby wells. This pollution also flows into our streams,
harms lakes, and on the coast causes clam flats to be closed. Here are
some useful tips:
use septic additives.
pour grease or food down your sink.
- Pump your
system every two to three years.
- Most importantly,
if your septic system was installed before 1974, consider replacing
for signs of a failing septic system such as sewer odor, staining water,
or patches of bright green grass growing above your septic tank. and don't
forget to maintain
your heating oil tank, too!
Get involved - Join the Spruce Creek Association!
If you would like to join our efforts to provide stewardship for the Spruce
Creek watershed, and contribute your time, or if you would simply like
to support our efforts with your name and signature, please join
us - anyone can join and membership is free! And don't forget
to check out the Calendar of Events to see
what's going on in the town - and the region!