With over 109,000 people living in just over 32 square miles, City of Ventura residents’ day to day activities can have an impact on water quality. Stormwater is surface runoff that does not soak into the ground during precipitation events (drizzle, rain, snow, and hail). As stormwater flows over neighborhoods, businesses, and streets, it picks up the trash, cigarette butts, pesticides, motor oils and other contaminants accumulated on hardscapes and deposits them into our local creeks, rivers, and the ocean UNTREATED! Stormwater runoff is the #1 source of water pollution and the biggest threat to water quality locally.
So what can you do? Here are five easy tips that can improve water quality!
DON’T OVERAPPLY FERTILIZER
Premature Plant Death
Over-application of synthetic or chemicals fertilizers can increase soil salinity and root burn in the long run, which may result in your plants not being able to properly absorb water and nutrients in the soil, leading to their untimely demise. Overuse of synthetic fertilizer can also disrupt soil chemistry and actually do damage to soils.
Harmful to Marine Life and Humans
When excess fertilizer gets into our storm drain system and travels into our oceans and waterways, algae blooms can form resulting in a loss of oxygen in the water. Algae blooms pose a direct threat to aquatic life.
A well-maintained, natural lawn care system requires little to no fertilizer. Talk to your local garden center about how to care for your landscape and if you must fertilize, what products you can purchase that are organic and environmentally friendly.
SWEEP, DON’T HOSE
Sweep around your house and driveway vs. hosing to clean away the accumulated dirt and debris. When you sweep, pick up the debris and place it into the appropriate trash receptacle. Potentially impactful items and debris picked up and placed in the trash are less likely to get into the storm drain system and degrade water quality.
TAKE YOUR CAR TO A CAR WASH Spring is a great time for cleaning up inside and outside the home. However, when you spruce up your car, think of going to a local carwash vs. hosing it down at home to save water and reduce runoff.
A standard garden hose uses about 10 gallons per minute. If you wash your car for 10-minutes, its possible you might consume100 gallons of water. While hosing with an automatic shut off valve may save more water than not, it’s still recommended to take your car to a commercial car wash that can properly dispose of toxic runoff (debris, oil, harmful soaps, etc.). Commercial car washes also have sophisticated reclamation systems that enable them to re-use water expending approximately 9-15 gallons of water during any given wash cycle.
PLANT NATIVE PLANTS
Native plants are the foundation of a natural ecosystem. They provide biodiversity, which boosts productivity and diversity of species, ensuring longevity and sustainability by providing ample food and habitat. Native plants also thrive in their “home” environment requiring less water to thrive.
Check out the City’s FREE Gardening Class Series, click here.
MAKE YOUR LANDSCAPE WATER-FRIENDLY WITH GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE
Consider installing permeable pavers, rain barrels, French drains, reduce lawn areas, and bioswales. When you make an effort to control the flow and sinking of water in your landscape, you’re helping to keep toxins and debris out of the storm drain system as well as capture water naturally — a WIN-WIN for you and the environment. Check out these Green Infrastructure Ideas, click here.