Washington waters — ours to protect

More than 60 percent of water pollution comes from things like cars leaking oil, fertilizers and pesticides from farms and gardens, failing septic tanks, pet waste, and fuel spills from recreational boating. All these small, dispersed sources add up to a big pollution problem. But each of us can make small changes at home, at play, and at work to help keep water clean — and that adds up to a pollution solution.

Yard care

Many people use fertilizers, weed killers and pesticides to enhance their yards and gardens. But, if you use too much of these products or apply them at the wrong time, they can end up in lakes, streams, Puget Sound, and other marine waters.

What you can do to help

  • Read your product labels. Follow the instructions for safe use and disposal.
  • Use fertilizer sparingly. Test your soil to find the right dose and type to match the your plants’ needs.
  • Don’t treat your lawn or garden before a rainstorm.
  • Use slow-release fertilizers and other more environmentally friendly products.
  • Try non-chemical alternatives. Use compost. Plant companion plants that deter pests. Pull weeds by hand. Use mulch. Trade your lawn for native groundcover or shrubs.
  • Get expert advice about lawn and garden products from Master Gardeners at your county WSU Extension office.

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Car maintenance Car washing On-site septic systems