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Home > By DEPARTMENTS > Green Operations > Standard Operating Procedures for Green and Sustainable Business Operations > Pollution Prevention > Pollution Prevention - P2

Non-Point Source Pollution Problems and Solutions

Non-point source pollution topics with suggestions for alternatives and solutions

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  • Excess fertilizers, herbicides, and insecticides from agricultural lands and residential areas
Organic landscaping and gardening is the closest model to mother nature's natural systems. The benefit is better health: cleaner air, less pesticide contamination of vulnerable children, seniors and wildlife (and adults), and better tasting veggies from your garden!

Organic waste can also be turned into soil-enriching mulch and compost -- thus saving you money and future chemical dependency, as well as naturally nourishing healthful flowers, landscaping and food.

Native and Low-water use, or drought-tolerant plants will reduce your need for chemicals, irrigation, and even give you more free time from maintenance chores!

  • Oil, grease, and toxic chemicals from urban runoff and energy production
Coal is used to create the majority of our electrical energy these days, but petroleum production runs close behind. While large installations are making progress on point-source pollution, there are still side effects: oil spills, coal emissions that can't be cost effectively cleaned up...and that adds to our total load of pollutants.

Home and small business use of oil, grease and toxic chemicals can be easily reduced. Companies as diverse as printshops, to car repair shops, to restaurants and hair dressers can take steps to replace old habits and tools with greener replacements.

Home chemicals such as cleansers, even toothpaste and shampoo, as well as degreasers, insect sprays, and plastic, plastic, plastic -- can all be replaced with greener alternatives -- or nothing at all! Simplification is even less expensive and time consuming! All these waste items end up in the ground water, and eventually our precious fresh water supply that is naturally recycled from streets and yards to streams to lakes to city water supplies! Uhhh!

  • Sediment from improperly managed construction sites, crop and forest lands, and eroding streambanks
Soil has a dirty job...but somebody has to do it! You don't have to be a gardener or farmer to realize that we have a very thin layer of topsoil. We're losing as much as an inch per year...and we don't have very many inches to start with! That soil provides the food for all our forests, grain fields, vegetable fields, lawns and pumpkin patches. Erosion of soil is more wasteful than throwing gold into the middle of the ocean!

With floods and continuous construction, erosion is a problem not only in rural or wilderness areas, but especially in urban areas. We can make a difference by landscaping for erosion control, by preventing flood damage -- and by not building in endangered flood plain areas. Our homes and businesses are our largest investments and natural resource planning is a valuable investment.

  • Salt from irrigation practices and chemicals, minerals and acid drainage from abandoned mines
Mines are largely hidden from view behind high fences and tall forests, but abandoned mines leach their chemicals forever.

Salt water rises into our fresh ground water supplies as we drain aquifers and local streams and lower natural water tables. Salt water and chemicals in the underground watertable kills plants, and thus the natural biodiversity of an area.

We can reduce our use of water. Southern California uses TWICE as much water as our region produces. That means we all need to reduce our water use by HALF. That' s a fine fix we're in!

Lawn irrigation account for HALF the water use in urban areas. By using low-water or native plants and non-manicured landscaping you can significantly reduce your water use.

  • Bacteria and nutrients from livestock, pet wastes, and faulty septic systems
Most of us don't have livestock-- but we have pets. Wastes -- from pets, humans and livestock, all need to be composted properly and we can advocate for more earth-friendly composting treatment processes.

And we can make sure our doggie poop doesn't end up in the city sewers or lakes or ocean.

Speaking of oceans, you might not want to swim where there are a lot of children... Maybe we need portable potties located along popular beaches that children can reach in a timely manner!

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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