What Can you Do?
What can you and your community do to protect your drinking water?
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is undertaking a baseline program to assess any threats to drinking water supplies. While the entire baseline study is scheduled for completion in 2004, the Department will post preliminary results on the SWAPP website, as they are available.
Since initial evaluation is based on existing databases, DEP can only make preliminary and tentative evaluations. Changes that are reported can help update the databases and provide timely information. Community members can help by reviewing the information and reporting any discrepancies that are identified.
Ways to Protect Our Drinking Water
By taking some simple steps in your home or community, you can play a part in protecting our drinking water sources. Make it a point of duty to:
- Dispose of household and other chemicals properly. That is, don't pour chemicals on the ground or down the sink drain, toilet or storm drain.
- Take used motor oil to the recycling center.
- Use only recommended amounts of fertilizers and pesticides.
- Have your unused wells properly closed.
- Pump and inspect your septic tank regularly.
- Plant vegetation on bare spots of soil, particularly on slopes. This will prevent erosion and excessive runoff of sediments into nearby water bodies.
- Become involved in drinking water protection activities in your community.
Further Community Protection:
There are a wide array of different source water protection methods to prevent contamination of their drinking water supplies. One option involves regulations, such as prohibiting or restricting land uses that may release contaminants in critical source water areas. Along with regulations, DEP encourages communities to hold local events and distribute information to educate and encourage citizens and businesses to recycle used oil, limit their use of pesticides, participate in watershed cleanup activities and other prevention activities. Another aspect of a source water protection program can be the purchase of land or creation of conservation easements to serve as a protection zone near the drinking water source. For an effective protection program, communities should consider using a variety of prevention measures.
Businesses Can Help Protect Drinking Water:
The SWAPP assessments will provide essential information to help communities make better decisions on how to protect drinking water. Check to see if your business is located in a drinking water protection area and whether it is a potential source of pollution. If so, your local water supplier will help you to be sure you are taking the necessary precautions to protect drinking water. Here are some tips that businesses can use to help protect the water supply:
- Train employees to reduce the use of toxic chemicals.
- Use the least hazardous chemicals available.
- Inspect vehicles regularly. Watch for leaks.
- Use as few lawn chemicals as possible.
- Pump your septic system regularly.
- Don't store chemicals on grass, use concrete or another impervious material.
- Cover chemical containers stored outside.
- Keep storage containers (both underground and above ground) in good working order.
- Don't discharge harmful substances or waste products into floor drains or sinks that lead onto or into the ground.
DEP has created four major barriers to protect our source water from contamination.(more)