10 Ways To Help Protect Our Water

erma water


The Great Lakes are 20% of the world’s fresh surface water and there are in trouble.  Lakes Michigan and Huron at their lowest levels ever and Lake Erie is experiencing harmful algae blooms which deplete oxygen, and destroy habitat.  I grew up spending summers in Canada on the shores of Lake Erie. Knowing the unhealthy state of the Lake is distressing.

One of the biggest threats to our waterways is combined sewer overflows. CSO’s occur when water treatment plants are overburdened during rain and snow storms.  Storm drains carry both sewage and storm water to the treatment plant but during heavy rainfall, the combined water and sewage is partially treated and discharged into the water.  Due to climate change, more and more, heavy rain events are predicted.

The good news is that water and sewage treatment plants all around the Great Lakes are taking steps to improve traditional infrastructure and implementing “green infrastructure” to reduce the amount of storm water pollution that flows into rivers and lakes.

Plus, there are things we all can do to protect the lakes.  You can start small or go all in – below are some actions you can take:

  • Disconnect downspouts to keep storm water out of the storm drain

  • Install rain barrel(s) to capture rain water

  • Plant a rain garden

  • Plant a tree(s)

  • Conserve water usage

  • Plant native plants that tolerate dry and wet seasons

  • Do not flush pharmaceuticals down the drain or toilets

  • Use non-toxic cleaning products

  • Limit usage of lawn fertilizers

  • Use fertilizers that do not contain phosphorus

“Only when the last tree is dead, the last river dammed and the last field paved over will we realize we can’t eat money.”




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