Prevent Creek Pollution
Avoid lawn fertilizers with phosphorus.
Phosphorus, a nutrient found in most lawn fertilizers, is a problem for the Huron River. It promotes the rapid growth of algae, which crowds out beneficial water plants and depletes the water of oxygen. It gets in by hitching a ride with the rain water that runs off our lawns and paved surfaces into the storm drains.
City of Ann Arbor Residents, per your local ordinance, you may not apply lawn fertilizer containing phosphorus. Look for brochures with the details at your local lawn and garden retailer or go to www.a2gov.org/green.
If you do use manufactured lawn fertilizer:
- Switch to phosphorus free, the kind with "0" as the middle number. Phosphorus is naturally abundant in southeast Michigan soils. You can always get your soil tested to find out exactly what your lawn needs.
- Minimize the amount of fertilizer you use. Follow package directions carefully.
- Apply it during dry weather and follow with a light sprinkling to aid absorption. Take care not to let it run off your yard or paved surfaces into the storm drains.
Get your soil tested to learn what your lawn and garden need for optimum health and growth. The Washtenaw County MSU Extension Agent runs a Soil Testing program in early spring (late March through mid April). It is easy, and agents provide individual recommendations based on your soil test results. Call (734) 997-1819 for information.
Dispose of pet waste properly.
When pet waste is left behind, it washes into storm drains and ditches. From there it heads straight to your local river. No filters, no cleansing. Swimming anyone?!
Help protect water quality. Stoop, scoop and drop those baggies into the trash where they belong!
Keep fall leaves out of the storm drains.
Never rake them into or near storm drains, ditches, creeks or the river. Decaying leaves use up the water's oxygen, harming aquatic inhabitants.
Here's what to do with your yardful of leaves...
Rake It! Follow the guidelines in your community for curb-side pick-up. If you're asked to put leaves in the street, wait until just before collection day.
Leave it! Mulch leaves by running over them with your lawn mower at next cutting. Leaves and grass clippings are the best fertilizer for your lawn.
Or . . . rake it and leave it! Rake leaves into a compost pile for a nutrient-rich fertilizer to use on your garden next spring.
Dispose of home toxics correctly.
Don't dump it if you wouldn't drink it. Products used for home repair, yard maintenance, automotive care, household cleaning and hobbies may be toxic to you and the environment if not handled properly. You can get the job done right and keep yourself safe.
Buy only the amount of product needed by planning your project out in advance. Resist the urge to "supersize" your purchase. It may seem cheaper, but remember you'll have the "cost" of storing and disposing of leftovers.
Look for less toxic alternatives when possible.
Read labels for use and disposal guidelines.
Keep products in their original containers and check them periodically for leaks.
DO NOT pour toxics down household drains.
DO NOT pour toxics down storm drains or into ditches.
DO NOT place home toxics in the trash.
Proper disposal is easy! The Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner has posted everything you need to know for identifying and disposing of home toxics here in Washtenaw County, including helpful links to its Home Toxics Reduction Center and Drop Off Location.Back to top