What Can You Do To Help?

Highlighted areas in the headings below provide links to videos developed by the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG). Other highlighted text links to additional tips and posters.

Keep Pollution Out of Storm Drains

  • Clean up oil spills immediately
  • Rake leaves and put into compost or lawn bags
  • Wash the car (video or text) on the lawn
  • Clean up pet waste
  • Do not pour oils, household cleaners, or lawn products down the storm drain
  • Sweep the driveway and side walk

Fertilize Sparingly

  • Use fertilizers low in phosphorus
  • Select a slow-release fertilizer
  • At least half of the nitrogen should be water insoluble
  • Keep fertilizer applications at least 20 feet away from the edge of lakes, streams, and storm drains
  • Sweep excess fertilizer back onto your lawn
  • Test the soil (add only what you need, where needed)
  • Do not apply fertilizer if it is going to rain
  • Try organic fertilizers
  • Allow grass clippings to fall back on the lawn to reduce the need for fertilizer
  • Hire a lawn service that uses organic fertilizers or slow-release nitrogen and low or no phosphorus fertilizer

Store and Dispose of Household Cleaners, Chemicals, and Oils Properly

  • Take household cleaners, petroleum products, and paints to the local hazardous waste center or collection day event
  • Never dump down the sink or on the ground
  • Securely close the lids
  • Store inside the house or within a garage or shed
  • Store in a dry area away from kids, pets, and wildlife
  • Place inside a containment device such as a plastic tub or tote to contain any leaks or residue
  • Clean up any spills immediately according to the manufactures suggestions
  • Be careful when using products with the words "danger," "caution," "warning," or "toxic"
  • Purchase only the materials you need in the smallest size necessary
  • Choose less toxic alternatives, like washing your windows with vinegar and water
  • Keep unused products in the original container with the label intact

Clean Up After Your Pet

  • Pick up pet waste promptly
  • Dispose of in the trash or flush down the toilet
  • Work with your local government to install signs, bag dispensers, and trash cans to make it easier for others to clean up after their pets
  • Do not feed ducks, geese, or other water fowl

Practice Good Car Care

  • Perform routine tune ups
  • Fix leaks promptly
  • Go to a car wash or wash on the lawn
  • Reduce the amount of soap or wash with plain water
  • Take vehicle to the shop to change oil and other fluids
  • Dispose of used oil promptly and properly
  • Clean up any spills immediately – soak up with kitty litter, sweep, and put it in the trash
  • Perform vehicle maintenance in a covered location like a garage
  • Do not top-off the gas tank

Choose Earth-Friendly Landscaping

  • Use pesticides and herbicides sparingly
  • Do not apply pesticides and herbicides if it is going to rain
  • Put mulch around trees and plants (about 4 inches)
  • Water the lawn only when it needs it (about 1 inch a week)
  • Mow long (3 inches)
  • Let grass clippings fall back on the lawn to reduce need for fertilizer
  • Sweep lawn clippings, leaves, and dirt back onto the lawn
  • Do not hose down the driveway
  • Choose plants native to Michigan
  • Use a wide variety of plants
  • Rake leaves put into compost or into lawn bags
  • Try chemical free options like soap and water or vinegar

Properly Dispose of Travel Trailer Waste

  • Dump waste at a proper dump station
  • Visit www.rvdumps.com for a list of dumping stations by state, interstate, and town.
  • The Jackson Wastewater Treatment Plant accepts travel trailer waste free of charge weekdays 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. call 517.788.4075 for more details
  • Wash the travel trailer on the grass or gravel
  • Choose earth-friendly cleaners and body care products

Maintain Your Septic System

  • Inspect your home or drainfield for signs of failure
  • Determine how often you should have your system pumped-out
  • Conserve household water use
  • Avoid the use of chemicals that may harm the septic tank bacteria and treatment process
  • Contact your county health department for more information or if you have concerns