In Warren County, Ohio storm drains and yard drains lead directly to creeks and drinking water reservoirs with no treatment. Water conditioners, chlorine, bromine, algaecides, biocides, stabilizers, salts and other chemicals used in pool and spa water are toxic to fish and other aquatic life and disrupt the natural balance within waterways.
Pool chemicals are prohibited by law from being discharged into storm drains or waterways. Allowable discharges include dechlorinated pool water that has no trace of chemicals. Pool filter backwash or saltwater pool discharges are prohibited in storm drains and drainage channels leading to streams.
How to Properly Drain Pool/Spa Water
The community you live in may have more stringent requirements under local laws for swimming pool discharges. Therefore, it is important that you also check with your community to determine what requirements they may have in place.
For questions regarding Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District programs and/or technical assistance on water or soil questions, visit http://warrenswcd.com or call, 513-695-1337.
A straw for your soft drink, a candy bar wrapper, a plastic bag to carry groceries: taken individually they seem undamaging but together they are overwhelming our natural systems. Since the 1950s, the production of plastics has outpaced other materials. Many of the plastics that are produced are meant to be thrown away after just one use. These include items such as grocery bags, food packaging, bottles, straws, containers, cups, cutlery, etc. According to the US EPA, in 2018 landfills received 27 million tons of plastic.
Most plastics do not biodegrade. Instead they slowly break down into smaller fragments known as microplastics. Plastic waste causes a plethora of problems when it leaks into the environment. Plastic bags can block waterways and exacerbate natural disasters. By clogging sewers and providing breeding grounds for mosquitoes and pests, plastic bags can increase the transmission of vector-borne diseases like malaria. High concentrations of plastic materials, particularly plastic bags, have been found blocking the airways and stomachs of hundreds of species. Plastic bags are often ingested by turtles and dolphins who mistake them for food. There is evidence that the toxic chemicals added during the manufacturing of plastic transfer to animal tissue, eventually entering the human food chain.
Making small changes to reduce plastic in our everyday lives can help the plastic situation. Here are some ways that you can help reduce your consumption of plastics in your household:
When you cannot eliminate plastic completely, make sure to recycle plastic when you are finished with it. Many options exist for recycling materials either through your municipality or other organizations. From terracycling wrappers to recycling specialty plastics, make sure to contact your local solid waste district to find out local recycling options. For Warren County residents, you can contact Warren County Solid Waste District at 513.695.1209, or visit https://www.co.warren.oh.us/solidwaste/
Did you know that Ohio has a diverse population of dragonflies and damselflies? According to Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Ohio has approximately 164 recorded species. Their brilliant colors and striking markings make them very fun to watch. The immature stages of all species are aquatic, and these animals are found in lakes, rivers, ponds, and streams throughout Ohio. Although many dragonflies and damselflies are prevalent, 13 species in Ohio are listed as endangered. These amazing creatures are indicators of excellent water quality and serve as barometers of the health of our waterways.
The family Odonata, which includes both the dragonfly and damselfly, has an amazing life cycle. According to Ohio Department of Natural Resources, “adults live a few weeks to a few months. The adults exist to reproduce and serve as great predators of insects such as mosquitoes and flies.”
“Mating dragonflies are referred to as being in tandem, and they couple together using specialized clamp-like structures. When transferring sperm, the pair assumes a ring-like position called the wheel position; somewhat suggestive of a valentine heart. Soon after mating, the adult female places her eggs into an appropriate substrate in a process called ovipositing. Depending upon the species, eggs might be deposited into water, saturated soil, on aquatic plants, or even drilled into plants or wet wood. From the eggs hatch larvae, which are sometimes called nymphs. These larvae are highly predatory, and are completely aquatic. In some species, larvae may take four years to reach the point of transformation into adults – far longer than the adult will live. When the larva is ready to transform to an adult, it crawls from the water and climbs onto adjacent plants. In an amazing metamorphosis, an adult dragonfly bursts from the shell of the larva.”
It is easy to tell the two apart. Damselflies have slender wings held over their back when at rest while the dragonfly has broader wings held outstretched at rest. Both species can be seen throughout the summer months near unpolluted water bodies such as rivers, streams, lakes, marshes, swamps, bogs, fens, or even temporary rain-pools.
Dragonflies and damselflies are among the only species that can fly in any direction (forward, backwards, and any other direction). These predators can change directions at lightning speeds to hunt for food – making them one of the most skillful aerial creatures.
Warren County Soil and Water recognizes the importance of the Odonata species, that’s why we have adopted Dagmar the dragonfly as our new education mascot! Dagmar can be seen at local events throughout the County in the Summer of 2021!
For more questions regarding Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District programs and/or technical assistance on water or soil questions, visit http://warrenswcd.com or call, 513-695-1337.
With all the craziness of 2020, our winter weather better not get any big ideas! If snow and ice are perhaps in our future, it is worth reminding ourselves that deicing materials can have adverse effects to our environment, especially our water bodies.
Most of the popular deicing products sold are chloride-based products which contain salt with different combinations. Sodium chloride, otherwise known as salt, is the most widely used deicing material. Sodium chloride is an effective deicer, is inexpensive, readily available and easily stored. Chloride which is present in many of the common de-icing materials can damage vegetation, destroy soil’s structure and produce erosion, can damage and kill vegetation and can contribute to automobile corrosion.
Common de-icing materials:
While municipalities’ main priorities remain maintaining clear roads and highways while ensuring safe travel, many municipalities are looking at incorporating de-icing materials that are less impactful on the environment, and we can do that at our homes as well. Here are some tips for reducing or eliminating the use of deicers at your own residence:
So when the next big winter storm strikes, strike back, but in an environmentally friendly way. For more questions regarding Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District programs and/or technical assistance on water or soil questions, visit http://warrenswcd.com or call, 513-695-1337.
Whether you fish, kayak or just simply sit by the shores of a beautiful lake, having clean lakes and rivers is something we can all appreciate. But did you ever think about how our water travels and ends up in these bodies of water?
The USGS website (usgs.gov) explains how water travels best: “When rain falls onto the earth, it doesn’t just sit there, it starts moving according to the laws of gravity. A portion of the precipitation seeps into the ground to replenish the Earth's groundwater. Most of it flows downhill as runoff. Runoff is extremely important in that not only does it keep rivers and lakes full of water, but it also changes the landscape by the action of erosion.
In cases of developed areas where stormwater cannot infiltrate into the ground because of impervious areas, more runoff occurs. In urbanized areas, runoff must be collected by “extensive drain systems that consist of curbs, storm sewers, and ditches to carry stormwater directly to streams. More simply, in a developed watershed, much more water arrives into a stream more quickly, resulting in an increased likelihood of more frequent and more severe flooding.”
“As it flows over the lands and other surfaces, stormwater picks up potential pollutants that may include sediment, nutrients (from lawn/agriculture fertilizers), bacteria (from animal and human waste), pesticides (from lawn and garden/agriculture chemicals), metals (from rooftops and roadways), and petroleum by-products (from leaking vehicles).” We also have situations where people dump prohibited materials (anything that is not stormwater) directly into storm drains not thinking of the impact that it has down stream.
Polluted stormwater runoff can be harmful to plants, animals, and people. Understanding that our water systems are all connected and by helping to keep our stormwater clean, can help keep our rivers, lakes and streams clean.
Help out our local water systems by keeping “only rain, down the storm drain.”
Here are some items that you can do to help:
Warren County SWCD Staff Blog
A blog to keep you informed on all the latest news at Warren County SWCD and in the conservation world.