In 1739, Benjamin Franklin was alarmed to see slaughterhouses and tanneries dumping animal waste into Philadelphia’s Dock Creek. He reached out to legislators, asking them to move fellow merchants farther away from city drinking water. When faced with opposition, Franklin explained himself in the Pennsylvania Gazette. He said his was “only a modest Attempt to deliver a great Number of Tradesmen from being poisoned by a few.” Eventually, he and others won a small victory: dumping decreased; albeit, gradually.
Fortunately, dumping like this is a thing of the past, by and large. Instead we have a different foe to contend with: polluted runoff. This happens when rain or melting snow carries litter, dog waste, and other contaminants into storm drains. This water can overflow from sewer pipes into creeks and streams. It can also wash directly into waterways after flowing across dirty parking lots, roofs and streets.
Like Franklin, you can put a stop to pollution. To get started, simply download one of the how-to guides below (PDF files). Each contains a variety of ways to capture or divert runoff — before its gets polluted (or floods your basement). And you needn’t be a Renaissance man like Franklin to pull it off.
There are many ways businesses, homeowners, and farmers can reduce their impact on the environment. Rain barrels and rain gardens are just the beginning. Check out the how-to guides below to see the variety of options available to you.
Video Credit: GreenTreks Network