Respect Our Waters at August 7th National Night Out

Aug. 2, 2013

On Wed., Aug. 7 from 6 to 9 p.m., Respect Our Waters will be at the St. Francis National Night Out at Vretenar Municipal Park, 4224 S. Kirkwood Ave., to give away pet waste bags, host a drawing for a rain barrel and educate residents on individual actions they can take to help improve area rivers and Lake Michigan. The group will also answer questions, provide information and give away Sparkles the Water Spaniel buttons.

“Everyone plays an important role in keeping our rivers and lakes clean and healthy. There are a number of simple and easy actions that help our waterways,” says Jeff Martinka, co-chair of Respect Our Waters and executive director of Sweet Water.

According to Martinka, residents should:
-Pick up pet waste.
-Leave grass clippings on the lawn.
-Use lawn fertilizer and chemicals sparingly. In fact, he recommends testing the soil to make sure the yard really needs the extra nutrients before applying fertilizer.
-Inspect vehicles to make sure they’re not leaking oil or other fluids.
-Plant a rain garden and trees.
-Direct downspouts into rain barrels, the yard or garden instead of the sewer or driveway.
-Use a carwash or wash cars on the lawn.

“What many residents don’t realize is that anything that washes into storm sewers goes directly into our rivers and Lake Michigan,” explains Martinka. “That means, whenever it rains, dog poop, lawn fertilizer, car fluids and any other debris on sidewalks, streets and parking lots gets deposited into our waterways.”

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