Recycle or properly dispose of household products that contain chemicals, such as insecticides, pesticides, paint, solvents, and used motor oil and other auto fluids. Don't pour them onto the ground or into storm drains. If you accidentally spill motor oil on the ground cover it with kitty litter to absorb the oil, then sweep it up and dispose of the kitty litter in the dumpster.
In West Texas, we tend to have short spurts of heavy rain. When an inch of rain falls out of the sky in the course of an hour, the ground is unable to soak up all of the moisture, and so it runs off of our lawns and into the streets. When the Storm Water runs off of our lawns, any excess fertilizers and pesticides are carried away with it and pollute the playa lakes and Yellow House Canyon Draw. Additionally, when we use blowers to coax leaves and yard waste off of our property into the street, we are, in effect, depositing that waste into the playa lakes and streams. Yard clippings and leaves wash into storm drains and contribute nutrients and organic matter to water bodies, resulting in algae blooms and fish kills. Yard wastes also take up space in the Storm Water detention basins, thus reducing the amount of run off they hold and increasing both the likelihood of flood events and the maintenance cost to the taxpayers.
- Don't over water your lawn. Consider using a soaker hose instead of a sprinkler. This helps minimize needless runoff and saves our most precious resource: water.
- Use pesticides and fertilizers sparingly. When use is necessary, use these chemicals in the recommended amounts. Use organic mulch or safer pest control methods whenever possible.
- Compost or mulch yard waste. Don't leave it in the street or sweep it into storm drains or streams. Mulching your lawn with grass clippings causes thatch is a common misconception. Actually, the glass clippings break down and release valuable nutrients to help your grass stay healthy and green. Mulching also reduces your dependence on fertilizers, thus saving you time and money.
- Cover piles of dirt or mulch being used in landscaping projects. You can use an inexpensive tarp and rocks to cover the pile, or allow a fast growing groundcover, like vinca, to stabilize the pile when not in use.
Leaking and poorly maintained septic systems release nutrients and pathogens (bacteria and viruses) that can be picked up by Storm Water and discharged into nearby canyon and playa lakes. Pathogens can cause public health problems and environmental concerns.
- Inspect your system every 3 years and pump your tank as necessary (every 3 to 5 years).
- Don't dispose of household hazardous waste in sinks or toilets.
Washing your car and degreasing auto parts at home can send detergents and other contaminants through the storm sewer system. Dumping automotive fluids into storm drains has the same result as dumping the materials directly into a playa lake.
- Go Green! And support your local business owner: Ditch the Driveway and Use a Carwash!
Home carwashes may be an inexpensive for you way to make your vehicle shine, but the cost to the environment is priceless. First, you use more water. The average driveway car wash uses 80-1401 gallons of drinking water, contrasted with the average commercial car wash use of less than 451gallons of recycled water per car. Next, you are polluting the playa and canyon lakes. When you wash your car in the driveway, the detergents and chemicals are rinsed off your car and travel down the street to a storm sewer inlet or to one of the playa lakes. This polluted water is not treated before reaching the fish and wildlife at the playa lakes and canyon lakes. At the commercial car wash, however, the polluted water is filtered through a drain and travels to the waste water treatment facility. Also, mobile car wash businesses permitted through the City of Lubbock operate with little environmental impact. This summer, skip the home car wash and go green! It's a small price to pay for healthy fish and birds at our parks! (Source: International Association of Car Washes and EPA)
- Batteries, Leaks and Oil
Repair leaks and dispose of used auto fluids and batteries at recycling locations. For Citizen Convenience Center hours and information call (806) 775-2482 or visit the City of Lubbock Solid Waste website.
Pet waste can be a major source of bacteria and excess nutrients in canyon and playa lakes.
When walking your pet, remember to pick up the waste and dispose of it properly. Flushing pet waste is the best disposal method. Leaving pet waste on the ground increases public health risks