Column: Everyone in Duluth has lakeshore propertySpring is a time when our lakes and streams are the most sensitive.
By: Chris Kleist, For the Budgeteer News
Spring is a time when our lakes and streams are the most sensitive.
Streambanks that were exposed during last summer’s flood can wash away quickly in heavy spring rains. Lawn- and yard waste that is hastily swept or blown into the street can quickly enter the storm sewer system and flow directly to water bodies, carrying harmful nitrates and phosphates with it.
Many Duluth residents are not aware that our storm sewers lead directly to rivers and lakes without treatment. Todd Carlson, a program coordinator with the City of Duluth, says, “People often laugh when we tell them that everyone in Duluth has lakeshore property … but because our storm sewers lead directly to a water body and, eventually, Lake Superior, the curb and gutter in front of your house is literally the edge of the lake. Whatever goes over the curb or onto the street will probably end up in Lake Superior.”
You can help protect our shared water resources by recognizing the impact that our actions can have on the water. Nearly everything we do on the land affects the water. We have a responsibility to protect our high quality water for the future and everyone can make a difference. Fortunately, the potential problems are easily recognizable and can be avoided by following these few simple steps listed inside the bar below.
• Don’t sweep sand onto the streets. Even sweeping with the best intentions to “Let the street sweeper pick it up” rarely works out. The sand almost always washes into the storm sewer before the sweeper can get it. Use it as fill in your yard, bring it to a city dump site, or even throw it in the garbage.
• Clean up after your pet. Pet waste carries nutrients that can be harmful to our water quality.
• Wash your car at the car wash or on your lawn, not in your driveway or on the street. When someone washes a car in the driveway, where do you think all that soap is going to end up?
• Don’t dump waste oil, paint, or antifreeze into a catch basin. Always bring it to a recycling facility.
• Report illegal dumping! Storm sewers are only for rainwater runoff. If you see someone dumping waste or debris into the storm sewers, please call our hotline (218-529-3281) so we can get it cleaned up right away.
Kleist is a project coordinator for the City of Duluth.