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Source Water Protection

Do Your Part

Four Ways to Protect Your Drinking Water

The choices you make every day – at home, at the cottage and in the workplace – can help to protect water at its source. When water is at risk of contamination, it threatens not only your health, but the ecosystem's health as well.

All of us - individuals, government, business and industry - have a responsibility to keep our water free from toxins and to protect our drinking water for ourselves and for future generations.

Remember, what we put in water ultimately comes back to us, for good or bad.

1. In the Home

  • Household Hazardous Waste: Products such as bleach, cleaning products, old medicine and electronics do not belong in the drain or garbage. Municipal treatment systems are limited in what they can remove from water as it is treated. Take your hazardous waste to your local municipality’s household hazardous waste collection events.
  • Taps & Toilets: Conserve water everyday by limiting your day-to-day activities. When brushing your teeth, turn the tap off. When taking a shower, limit it to ten minutes. Install water saving devices.
  • Green Products: Using environmentally friendly cleaning products will not damage the environment. They are readily available at most grocery stores and work just as well. Other common household substances, such as white vinegar, baking soda, and borax can also be used as cleaning products in the house.

2. In the Yard

  • Rain Water: Catch rain water from your eavestrough downspout in a rain barrel and use it to water your lawn and garden.
  • Wash Your Car: Soaps, dirt and oil run down the driveway and into storm sewers or local streams. Use the car wash or wash your car on the lawn with biodegradable soaps — or no soap. It works just as well and will not damage the environment.

3. On the Land

  • Shoreline Properties: Maintain a natural shoreline. Leaving a buffer of vegetation along shorelines protects banks against erosion and ice damage. Vegetation, such as grasses or shrubs, filter possible hazardous materials that could be leaching from your lawn into what may be your source of drinking water (lake or river). Shoreline vegetation is also a great habitat for many species of fish and other aquatic forms.
  • Septic Systems: Regularly maintain a properly-sized septic system. Using water moderately and not disposing hazardous products into your septic system will help to keep it healthy and protect our water resources.

4. On the Water

  • Swimming and Boating: Watch your wake. Your boat can easily damage the river bed, disturb shoreline habitat and wash away the shoreline. Carefully fuel your boat using proper containers and equipment. One drop of gasoline can contaminate large bodies of water for a long period of time. Do not discharge sewage from your boat into the water and clean the bottom of your boat in order not to transport invasive species from one lake to another. When swimming, avoid using soap or shampoo in the water. These contain nitrates and other contaminants which can affect your drinking water source.

(Information provided by Conservation Ontario)