NEW YORK (WWTI) — Join in on the statewide celebration of Water Week. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Division of Water is helping to promote Water Week in 2021 by focusing on the theme, “Clean Water for Everyone,” aiming to highlight the importance of clean water in cities, suburbs and the countryside.

“In New York we are fortunate to have an abundant supply of water in our lakes, rivers, streams, and wetlands, as well underground. City or country, people living near water want to use it for recreation and/or as a source of drinking water. Clean water is an asset to a community’s health and economic vitality,” stated the DEC.

According to data provided by the DEC, New York State has 70,000 miles of rivers and streams, 4,000 lakes and ponds and 2.4 million acres of wetlands and extensive aquifers.

The Department urged that these resources need protection to remain clean.

Here are ways on how to keep water clean in your communities:

  • Return used motor oil for recycling:
    “Never pour oil onto the street or down a storm drain. It’ll wash, untreated into the nearest waterbody.”
  • Use a commercial car wash:
    “Or wash your car on the lawn to keep dirty, soapy water from flowing into a storm drain and eventually into local streams and lakes.”
  • Sweep sidewalks and driveways:
    “Hosing yard debris off hard surfaces just washes it into storm drains. Compost yard waste instead.”
  • Fight mud:
    “Cover areas of bare soil with mulch, or plant grass or ground covers to keep rain from washing soil into storm drains, ditches, streams and lakes. Fine soil particles, or sediment, can suffocate fish and destroy their habitat.”
  • Avoid using lawn fertilizers that contain phosphorus:
    “Test your lawn first to see if it needs phosphorus. Phosphorus that is not needed by turf grass is often carried by rain into nearby water bodies where it can cause serious environmental problems.”
  • Leave unmowed buffer next to streams and lakes:
    “A buffer strip filters the pollutants carried by storm runoff, stops erosion of banks and helps prevent flooding downstream.”
  • Flush responsibly:
    “Rather than flushing, dispose of cleansers, beauty products, medicine, auto fluids, paint, and lawn care products at a local household hazardous waste facility. Take pharmaceuticals to special collection locations.”
  • Use the trash, not the drain:
    “Dispose of excess fats and grease, diapers and personal hygiene products in the garbage can. These materials can clog pipes and cause raw sewage to overflow.”
  • Block the buzz:
    “Prevent mosquitoes from breeding by eliminating standing water in old tires and clogged gutters, or use dunks containing the larvacide Bti (a bacteria that targets mosquitoes).”

More water-saving and conservation suggestions can be found on the DEC website.