Monsoon season is upon us. During rainstorms, pollutants in driveways, streets, or lawns can flow untreated into the storm drain system and eventually end up in streams, rivers, lakes, and groundwater. One household may produce minimal amounts of pollutants but the combined quantity of pollution from everyone in the community can be significant. Pollutants in the water run-off can harm fish and other aquatic life, and make water unsafe for drinking and swimming. Residents can help protect storm water and ground water systems from pollution. Some ways to reduce water pollution include:
• Use a commercial car wash or wash your car on a lawn or other unpaved surface to minimize the amount of dirty, soapy water flowing into the storm drain and eventually into the local waterbody. The Luke AFB car wash is located at Bldg. 247.
• Check your car, boat, motorcycle, and other machinery and equipment for leaks and spills. Make repairs as soon as possible. Clean up spilled fluids with an absorbent material like kitty litter or sand, and don’t rinse the spills into the gutter or storm drain. Remember to properly dispose of the absorbent material.
• Recycle used oil and other automotive fluids. Don’t dump these chemicals on the ground, down the storm drain, or in the trash. Theses chemicals have the potential to contaminate run-off and leach into the groundwater. Base residents can perform auto repairs and maintenance at the Auto Skills Shop located in Bldg. 248.
Lawn and garden
• Use pesticides and fertilizers sparingly. When necessary, use these chemicals in the recommended amounts. Avoid application if the weather forecast calls for rain; otherwise, chemicals can be washed into your local stream.
• Select native plants and grasses that are drought and pest-resistant. Native plants require less water, fertilizer and pesticides. Sweep up yard debris, rather than hosing down areas. Compost or recycle yard waste when possible.
• Don’t over water your lawn. Water during the cool times of the day, and don’t let water run off into the street or storm drain.
• Cover piles of soil being used in landscaping projects to prevent the soil from blowing or washing off your yard and into local waterbodies.
• Be sure to clean up after pets and put the waste in the trash. Pet waste can contain viruses and bacteria that can contaminate surface and groundwater.
Home repair and improvement
• Before beginning an outdoor project, locate the nearest storm drains and protect them from debris and other materials.
• Sweep up and properly dispose of construction debris such as concrete and mortar.
• Use hazardous substances like paints, solvents, and cleaners in the smallest amounts possible, and follow the directions on the label. Clean up spills immediately, and dispose of the waste safely. Store substances properly to avoid leaks and spills.
• Purchase and use nontoxic, biodegradable, recycled and recyclable products whenever possible. For example, baking soda, distilled white vinegar, and ammonia are safer alternatives to caustic chemicals.
• Properly dispose of excess paints through a household hazardous waste collection program, or donate unused paint to local organizations.
We must all work together to keep Luke AFB and our surrounding community as pollution-free as possible. By considering pollution prevention when conducting daily activities, we can help prevent stormwater and groundwater pollution.
For more information about Stormwater Pollution Prevention, call 623-856-3621.