on Water Pollution and Waste of Water
How to Identify and What to Do With Hazardous Materials
If a product label lists the words "toxic," "danger," "warning" or "caution," STOP before pouring it on the ground or into any drain. Click here for a reference chart on many hazardous materials and the proper disposal for them.
Hazardous and recyclable chemical collections for household-generated items are sponsored periodically throughout the region. These collection events will be posted on our Calendar of Regional Events page whenever possible. Other sources of information are city newsletters, newspaper articles, and flyers mailed to homes. Note that these Household Hazardous Waste collection events are generally not for commercially-generated waste, see our Reduce, Reuse, Recycle database for commercial service providers.
The St. Louis County Department of Health sponsors Recyclable Household Hazardous Waste Collection Events to recycle hazardous waste including paint, gasoline, solvents, lead batteries, and much more.
For information on Household Hazardous Waste collection in Illinois, visit the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency site.
Choose Environmental Excellence's Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Database lists service providers that handle household hazardous waste and industrial waste.
If you can't find information on a Household Hazardous Waste collection event, or you are not able to wait for the next collection event, contact your municipal or county government for assistance. Please refrain from dumping chemicals in storm sewers or creeks and streams.
Reducing the Use of Toxic Substances in Your Home
Reducing consumption of toxic substances not only keeps our water supply cleaner, but also reduces human exposure to these chemicals. Recipes for toxic-free cleaning products and pesticides can be found in our Safer Alternatives to Hazardous Household Products brochure.
Simple Steps You Can Take to Reduce the Use of Toxic Chemicals:
* Buy organic products whenever possible - this includes not only food items but clothing as well.
* Use environmentally friendly cleaning products in your home. Reduce your use of chlorine bleach.
* Try nontoxic alternatives to pesticides on your lawn and in your garden.
* Avoid the use of air freshners and perfumed products. Freshen the air in your home by opening windows or by using baking soda, cedar blocks, dried flowers, or fresh citrus fruit.
* Reduce the use of plastic wrap and plastic food containers. Use glass containers instead. Do not microwave food in plastic.
The first thing to remember is that every drop counts. You can make a difference by taking small water-saving steps.
If your faucet is dripping at the rate of one drop per second, you could be wasting up to seven gallons of water in one day. That adds up to over 2,500 gallons per year!
Check for leaky faucets and toilets, and then repair them immediately. If you suspect a leak, turn off everything carefully so no water is being used anywhere in the house. Then check the position of your water meter dial. Make a note of the reading and then check it again in about 15 minutes. If the dial hasn't moved, you have a relatively watertight home. But if the dial has moved, start checking toilets, hose connections and faucets. If your water meter indicates a leak is present when everything seems tight, the leak may be hidden in the pipes. Call a plumber for advice.
A common cause of an unusually high water bill is a malfunctioning toilet. To determine if water is leaking into the bowl from the tank, take a tablespoon of food coloring and pour it into the tank; if the water in the bowl changes color before you flush it, then you know you have a leak. Flush as soon as the test is done, since food coloring may stain the tank.
Simple Steps You Can Take to Save Water:
* Turn off the faucet. As simple as this sounds, many gallons of water are wasted daily when people leave the tap running as they brush their teeth, shave, wash dishes, or clean vegetables.
* Run only full loads of laundry and dishes.
* Keep a bottle of tap water in the refrigerator for drinking. Water is wasted by allowing the faucet to run until the water feels cool.
* Approximately 50 to 70% of household water is used outdoors for watering lawns and gardens. To make the most of the water you use, never water during the hottest times of the day or when it is windy. Turn off automatic sprinklers after periods of rain.
* Consider planting grasses and shrubs that use less water. The Missouri Botanical Garden's 'Plants of Merit' list, includes excellent drought-tolerant species.
* Mulch or compost can help retain water for your plants.
* Protect outside faucets from bursting during cold winter temperatures. Turn water spigots off at an inside valve, then drain them by opening the tap and disconnecting hoses.
Reporting Water Pollution
Citizens who see pollution are encouraged to report their sightings. To report water pollution on national waterways, contact the US Coast Guard National Response Center, or the nearest Coast Guard of the Port Office or contact the Coast Guard via marine radio on VHF Channel 16. In Missouri, report environmental emergencies such as oil or chemical spills to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. In Illinois, report environmental emergencies to the Illinois EPA Environmental Helpline.
* US Environmental Agency's Office of Water - Explore America's Water Resources with an emphasis on water quality with features that include kid's pages, publications, and informative links. The EPA has more suggestions for water conservation for individuals and industrial/commercial water users and the impact of water use on water quality.
* The Missouri Department of Natural Resources covers a wide range of water issues on their web site The MO DNR Division of Environmental Quality, Pollution Prevention Unit provides water-saving and pollution-prevention tips.
* The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has a variety of water-related resources on its web site.
* The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Bureau of Water has information on water pollution controls and public water supply programs.
* The Clean Water Fund is a nonprofit organization that works to bring diverse communities together to work for changes that improve lives, and promote sensible solutions for people and the environment. Their "Home Safe Home" program's web site has a comprehensive chart of alternatives to common [hazardous household products.
* Beyond Pesticides, also known as the National Coalition Against the Misuse of Pesticides, is a nonprofit membership organization that serves as a national network committed to pesticide safety and the adoption of alternative pest management strategies which reduce or eliminate a dependency on toxic chemicals. Pesticides can have a direct impact on water quality and human health; they have information on the hazards of toxic pesticides and safe alternatives.
* American Water Works Company, is the largest publicly traded US corporation devoted exclusively to the business of water. It provides water, wastewater and other related services to nearly 20 million people. Its subsidiaries Missouri-American Water and Illinois-American Water serve a majority of the people in the Greater St. Louis region. Their web site includes some simple water conservation tips.
* More water conservation tips for the home can be found at H2OUSE and WaterWiser,
* The Missouri Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts works to "enhance the conservation of soil and water resources through Missouri's Soil and Water Conservation Districts and assume active leadership in promoting conservation education in the state." Much of this work is with landowners and farmers to minimize soil erosion.
* The Association of Illinois Soil and Water Conservation Districts (AISWCD) is a grass roots organization formed in 1948. It is made up of and serves Illinois' 98 member Soil and Water Conservation Districts. They can help you connect with local water conservation information.
* American Water Resources Association works to advance multidisciplinary water resources management and research.