Recently we have addressed things going down our storm drains and their connection to our lakes along with the link between energy and water conservation. Today we are adding one more topic relating to healthy water. A lot of people do not realize that putting hazardous materials down the drain or toilet can have harmful effects on the environment, our health and can cause costly repairs to home sewer systems, as well as city systems.
Even though an item says “flushable” Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District recommends throwing these items away instead. Another option, when possible would be to use reusable items that can be washed instead of thrown away or flushed. Examples: cloth cleaning rags, cloth napkins, reusable shopping bags. If you have items you are not sure how to dispose of or which things should not be flushed this helpful flyer will be able to answer questions as well as provide locations to take special items for proper disposal. You can also visit http://www.madswer.org or call 608-222-1201.
Did you know that when you use water, you’re using electricity as well? In this area, most of the water that flows from your faucet and fills your toilet is supplied by city wells. These wells are maintained and operated by local Utility companies that pump and transport water to your home. Powering the wells has a cost which is paid by the Utility companies and then passed on to customers through utility bills.
By conserving water we are not only helping ensure a healthy water supply but we are also contributing to energy conservation. Here are a couple indoor efforts you can take to save water, energy and money.
A first step is to make sure that none of your indoor fixtures are leaking water. ”For example, a leaky toilet can waste about 200 gallons of water everyday. As little as one drip per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons of water per year,” says Kristofer Canto, City of Fitchburg Sustainability Intern. Not only does this add unnecessary costs to your utility bill it is also using energy. A few places to check for leaks around your home include faucets, shower heads, washers, toilets and irrigation connections. One way to see if you need to check more thoroughly for leaks is (if possible) look at your water meter when you know none of your water using items are on. If the dial is turning, water is still being used.
Another step to take is to purchase WaterSense labeled products. This will help increase the efficiency of your household fixtures. ”Installing a WaterSense labeled aerator for your kitchen or bathroom faucet is one of the most cost effective ways to save water and will increase the faucet’s efficiency by 30 percent,” states Kristofer Canto, City of Fitchburg Sustainability Intern. (Generally, aerators can be found for under $10.00 at your local hardware store.)
Installing an efficient toilet can provide equal performance while saving around 20 percent more water. Look for a WaterSense labeled toilet and it could save another $90 annually on a water utility bill and $2,000 over the lifetime of the toilet (based on a family of four). And if saving money on your utility bill isn’t enough of an incentive, the City of Fitchburg and the Madison Water Utility are offering Toilet Replacement Rebates! People can get up to $100 towards their new toilet if they replace older, less efficient toilets with a High Efficiency Toilet (HET) model. The HET toilets use on average 1.28 gallons of water per flush compared to some of the older models that use around 6 gallons per flush. That’s a big difference!
For additional details about the City of Fitchburg rebate visit: http://www.fitchburgwi.gov/departments/cityHall/publicWorks/PermitsApplications.php
For more details on the Madison Water Utility Program rebate visit: https://www.cityofmadison.com/water/inTheHome/toiletRebate.cfm
Don’t live in Madison or Fitchburg? Try contacting your local Utility company to see what types of rebates they may offer. You never know!
image source: thedailygreen.com
Friday, October 18th marks the 41st anniversary of the Clean Water Act (CWA). CWA sets regulations on pollutants allowed into our national waterways along with regulating water quality standards. We are grateful for protection at a national level, however, there are also things we can do locally to ensure healthy waterways.
The “Love Your Lakes, Don’t Leaf Them” campaign is spreading the word about leaf management. This is an especially important topic during the Fall season when the leaves are starting to change color and fall from the trees. The goal is to keep leaves out of the streets, which drain into our lakes and streams. Because once the leaves are in our waterways they break down into excess nutrients and can create unhealthy algae blooms.
Here are a few tips from myfairlakes.com to help keep leaves out of the streets:
*Instead of creating piles along the road for collection, compost your leaves. They will create a nutrient rich mulch for your yard next year.
*Chop the leaves up as you mow your lawn, it will provide a natural fertilizer.
*Place leaves on top of your flower and garden beds to insulate them during the cold winter months.
For more helpful tips, locations to pick up yard signs, information about local municipality collections go to Love Your Lakes or check out this handy myfairlakes brochure and help spread the word on how to Love Our Lakes.