Locals asked to help curb water runoff

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 3, 2006

Stormwater runoff has turned into a multi-million-dollar problem in Ironton, but county residents can help cure the problem with a few steps in their own backyard.

When rains fall on roadways and rooftops, it soaks back into the soil. As a result, it flows into gutters and storm sewers, collecting pollutants all the while. Rivers and streams suffer, not just from flooding more easily, but also by having their water quality affected.

“Once this water is polluted, it takes so long for it to go through the cycle to clean itself,” said Carrie Yaniko, education coordinator for the Lawrence Soil and Water Conservation District. “We just keep adding more and more to it, and not trying to do anything about it.”

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The Lawrence Soil and Water Conservation District is trying to spread that message that, with a few changes around the home, families can help curb runoff.

One of the largest areas that locals can help is by changing some of their cleaning habits. The LSWCD recommends catching car leaks with a drip pan until they can be fixed, cleaning up spills and leaks with sand or cat litter and choosing non-toxic, biodegradable cleaners for the driveway.

There’s another bit of car cleanup that Yaniko recommends doing away from the driveway.

“When you wash your cars, you should take them to the car wash that treats and recycles water,” Yaniko said. “If not, you should wash them in the grass, or someplace that has an area that can permeate back into the ground.”

Gardeners can also do a lot to alleviate the problem, like minimizing the use of fertilizers and pesticides and following label instructions.

Also, landowners can terrace steep slopes to slow runoff, and catching rainwater from downspouts in barrels that can then be used for watering lawns and gardens.

Although some of these steps may seem small, Yaniko said that if enough people throughout the county make the changes, they can help keep their water supply clean.

“Some people do collect the rain in the barrels and when they landscape they have a stair-stepped landscaping,” Yaniko said. “You do see people doing it, we’d just like to encourage more people to do it.”

More information about runoff limiting is available by contacting the LSWCD at (740) 867-4737.