Tips for keeping our water clean

Here are some clean water tips from Allison Plute.

The snow is melting and spring rains are on the way!  Melting snow banks reveal litter, sand, salt, pet waste and debris –  if they reach our waterways they can cause big problems for aquatic life.  This spring, we’re asking citizens to step up their own efforts to help keep our water clean. 

You can help reduce pollution by cleaning debris from your sidewalks and driveways, as well as the curbs and storm drains in front of your property, especially if it looks like it will melt or rain before the street sweepers reach you.  With over 820 miles of streets to cover in Rochester, the City’s four street sweepers can’t be everywhere at once, so everyone is encouraged to do their part to protect Rochester’s waterways.

Other ways you can help protect our water this spring include:

  • Plant deep-rooted native plants, shrubs or trees.  The roots of turf grass extend only two to three inches into the soil.  Native flowers and grasses, on the other hand, can have root systems four to twelve feet deep! These deep roots anchor the plants and keep soil from washing away. They also increase the amount of water the soil can absorb, meaning that more water sinks in to recharge groundwater supplies and less ends up in the storm drain.
  • Buffer your shoreline if you live along a lake, river, stream or wetland.  A shoreline planted in trees, shrubs, and native plants will hold the soil in place when it rains.  Unmowed buffers can catch and filter many of the pollutants found in melting snow and stormwater runoff.
  • Direct Your Downspouts.  Direct water from your downspouts away from your house and paved surfaces and onto your lawn where it can soak in.
  • Help Make Rochester A Litter Bit Better! Pick a location, pick a date, and pick it up April 16-23rd.  Registration for the 5th annual city-wide litter collection begins March 1st visit to register and for more information.

The Freshwater Society is promoting statewide spring cleanup programs, and will be collecting data from these events.  Participants can learn more about this program, how to submit their numbers to the statewide totals, and additional water-protecting tips at:

Thanks for helping to Keep it Clean in Rochester!

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