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Your cat is trying to kill you

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Ten things that ordinary people can do to improve water quality

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Your cat is trying to kill you

  1. 1. WATER'S TEN MOST-WANTED Or: How Your Cat is Trying to Kill You Brian Gongol DJ Gongol & Associates, Inc. November 3, 2016 Nebraska Section AWWA Fall Conference Kearney, Nebraska
  2. 2. If the water cycle means anything...
  3. 3. Then drinking-water professionals need to speak up
  4. 4. Garbage in, garbage out Source water protection is massively important to the quality of public drinking water
  5. 5. These are ten enemies of clean source water
  6. 6. We're only talking about domestic sources
  7. 7. Forget agricultural runoff and pollutants Runoff is a huge issue, but few of us talk directly to farmers
  8. 8. Forget industrial pollution It's a convenient boogeyman, but regulators are already involved
  9. 9. Don't let households off the hook
  10. 10. We want the public to take ownership Nobody washes or waxes a rented car
  11. 11. Public Enemy #1: Geese
  12. 12. What's the problem? They're obnoxious, obviously
  13. 13. But they also pollute directly into urban ponds
  14. 14. What's the public doing wrong? The public really doesn't understand the impact of nutrients
  15. 15. What do we want them to change? Understand the nutrient-pollution relationship
  16. 16. What do we want them to change? Recognize nutrient-overloaded bodies of water in their own neighborhood
  17. 17. Public Enemy #2: Dogs and cats
  18. 18. What's the problem? America has a huge number of pets
  19. 19. What's the problem? Those pets relieve themselves of an enormous volume of waste
  20. 20. What's the public doing wrong? Plenty of jerks don't clean up after their pets
  21. 21. What's the public doing wrong? Pet waste gets on your shoes... But it also washes into storm drains
  22. 22. What's the public doing wrong? Pet waste is highly concentrated and contaminates storm sewers, streams, rivers, and creeks
  23. 23. What do we want them to change? Recognize that domestic pets like Fido and Fluffy aren't "just like" wild rabbits and deer
  24. 24. What do we want them to change? Realize that pets eat concentrated food and create concentrated waste
  25. 25. What do we want them to change? Clean up after pets and dispose of waste properly
  26. 26. Public Enemy #3: Trees
  27. 27. What's the problem? Leaves and yard waste get into storm sewers and create nutrient problems
  28. 28. What's the public doing wrong? People dump grass clippings in the street and blow leaves into the storm sewers
  29. 29. What do we want them to change? Mulch yard waste back into the soil
  30. 30. What do we want them to change? Collect leaves and yard waste for composting
  31. 31. Public Enemy #4: Lawn fertilizer
  32. 32. What's the problem? Runoff from over-fertilized lawns puts nitrogen and phosphorus into source water
  33. 33. What's the public doing wrong? Dumping too much fertilizer on residential lawns in pursuit of golf-course perfection
  34. 34. What's the public doing wrong? Fertilizing at the wrong time
  35. 35. What's the public doing wrong? Cutting grass at the wrong height
  36. 36. What's the public doing wrong? Watering like idiots
  37. 37. What do we want them to change? Fertilize efficiently
  38. 38. What do we want them to change? Water efficiently
  39. 39. What do we want them to change? Accept that a picture-perfect lawn is not a sane goal
  40. 40. Public Enemy #5: Spray-applied pesticides Not this kind, but the household kind
  41. 41. What's the problem? Spray feeders and nozzles on garden hoses create a huge backflow risk
  42. 42. What's the public doing wrong? Almost willfully ignoring the risk of backflow from our chemical-happy habits
  43. 43. What do we want them to change? Learn that backflow prevention is primarily for their own protection
  44. 44. What do we want them to change? Recognize the hazards of putting water supplies in close contact with dangerous chemicals
  45. 45. Public Enemy #6: Aging pipes
  46. 46. What's the problem? Old pipes passing through contaminated areas can introduce chemicals to drinking-water systems, especially when low-pressure events create passing vacuums at joints
  47. 47. What's the public doing wrong? Blindly imagining that water infrastructure is free and lasts forever
  48. 48. What do we want them to change? Recognize that investing in water infrastructure protects public health and has no substitute
  49. 49. Public Enemy #7: Prescription drugs
  50. 50. What's the problem? Pharmaceuticals are going through people and finding their way into source water
  51. 51. What's the public doing wrong? Using antibiotics like morons
  52. 52. What's the public doing wrong? Flushing drugs down the (space) toilet
  53. 53. What do we want them to change? Use antibiotic soaps and cleaners sparingly and sensibly * NOTE: The FDA is making this mandatory anyway
  54. 54. What do we want them to change? Dispose of used or expired pharmaceuticals through proper channels
  55. 55. Public Enemy #8: Fresh paint
  56. 56. What's the problem? Users put all kinds of contaminants down the drain
  57. 57. What's the public doing wrong? People wash brushes and rags and drain the waste straight into the sink
  58. 58. What do we want them to change? Think before you flush (or send it down any drain)
  59. 59. What do we want them to change? Use hazardous waste cleanup days to dispose of old paints, varnishes, and similar materials
  60. 60. What do we want them to change? Use non-water methods of cleanup
  61. 61. Public Enemy #9: Sidewalk/driveway salt
  62. 62. What's the problem? Aggressive measures to clear snow and ice from roads, sidewalks, and driveways ultimately sends salt into receiving streams
  63. 63. What's the public doing wrong? Salting the ground like a super-sized order of French fries
  64. 64. What do we want them to change? Think about the use of salt, sand, and grit on pavement before dumping them mindlessly
  65. 65. Public Enemy #10: Cars
  66. 66. What's the problem? Oil leaks
  67. 67. What's the problem? Gasoline spillage
  68. 68. What's the problem? Household car washing
  69. 69. What's the public doing wrong? Creating non-point-source pollution with careless oil changes
  70. 70. What's the public doing wrong? Creating non-point-source pollution with sloppy fill-ups
  71. 71. What's the public doing wrong? Creating non-point-source pollution with inefficient household car washing
  72. 72. What do we want them to change? Realize that everything that spills on the ground flows downstream
  73. 73. What do we want them to change? Use dedicated car washes
  74. 74. What do we want them to change? Dispose properly of used motor oil
  75. 75. That's ten big enemies of source-water quality
  76. 76. Let's figure out what you can do to help
  77. 77. Tools you can use
  78. 78. Bill stuffers
  79. 79. Advertising and PSAs
  80. 80. Newspaper columns
  81. 81. TV and radio interviews Check out the efforts of Bill Stowe at Des Moines Water Works
  82. 82. Parades
  83. 83. Parades This is outreach!
  84. 84. Open houses
  85. 85. Internet presence (in three parts)
  86. 86. Website(s) - You aren't limited to just one
  87. 87. Facebook
  88. 88. Twitter
  89. 89. Luncheon talks
  90. 90. Summary  Safe drinking water really is everyone's business  Public buy-in is required  You're in the best position to make the case  Help people see these 10 problems (and more!)  People are motivated by a sense of ownership  Use all of the tools at your disposal
  91. 91. There's a lot the public needs to know Ask me (or someone else) if you need help!
  92. 92. Any questions?  Brian Gongol • DJ Gongol & Associates  515-223-4144  brian@gongol.net  @djgongol on Facebook or Twitter
  93. 93. References  Water-cycle image is public-domain work by the EPA  https://www3.epa.gov/safewater/kids/pdfs/graphic_grades_k- 3_watercycle.pdf  Aerial photo of Lincoln, Nebraska is public-domain work by the USGS  https://www.sciencebase.gov/catalog/item/564d77fbe4b0112df6 c4fffa  Pet quantities from the American Veterinary Medical Association  https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/Statistics/Pages/Market- research-statistics-US-pet-ownership.aspx  All other photographs and illustrations are original work of Brian Gongol. Copyright and all other rights reserved.

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