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2017 Be Freshwater Friendly Essay Contest

Posted May 30, 2017 in Articles

By Bailee Hepola

Most people do not realize the things they do every day that affect our freshwater. Every day. It makes such a big impact on our lives because we use our water all the time in our daily activities.

We drink our water, use it to wash dishes, to bathe, wash our car, cook, wash our clothes, use the restroom, and more. People do not pay attention most of the time to what we do to our water, because we have Greenville Renewable Water Resources (ReWa) helping us keep our water fresh. Not only does

ReWa help keep our water “freshwater friendly,” but they also put a lot of effort into trying to help other people keep our water “freshwater friendly” as well. A few ways people could help our environment be “freshwater friendly” are to follow “pipe patrol,” be “poop etiquette,” and use “curb control.”

The first way people can be “freshwater friendly” is to follow “pipe patrol, which  is when people pour Fats, Oils, and Grease (FOG) down their kitchen sink drain which causes it to cool and stick to the inside of sewer lines and hardens while catching debris. Eventually, it will block sewer lines, causing back-ups into their home.

Something interesting about FOG is that it is estimated to be about 10,000 tons of fats, oils, and grease that enter people’s drainage system each year alone. It is also estimated that 75 percent of sewer blockages are caused by a buildup of FOG. A solution people could use to prevent back-ups into their home is to pour the FOG into a container, then allow it to cool and harden. Instead of a container, you could also use open soup or vegetable cans, or jars with resealable lids like baby food, pickle jars, and spaghetti jars.

By doing this, people can prevent blockages into their sewer lines and back-ups into their home and keep their pipes clean and their homes safe. The next thing you could do to be “freshwater friendly” is to also be “poop etiquette.” The problem with being “poop etiquette” is that people do not pick up their pet waste. This leads the pet waste getting washed by rain into our rivers, lakes, and streams. One interesting fact about being “poop etiquette” is that the pollution from the dog waste promotes the growth of aquatic weeds and algae, which can result in a harmful environment for fish and other aquatic life. Another interesting fact is that pet waste contributes nitrogen, phosphorus, parasites, and fecal bacteria to water bodies when it is not disposed of properly.

A few solutions you could use to make sure pet waste doesn’t flow into our rivers, lakes, and streams are that people could walk their dog in grassy areas, parks, or undeveloped areas, not near stream, pond, and lake banks. Another solution is to simply scoop the waste. Take a plastic bag when walking

the dog and place the bag in the trash after scooping it up. When people use these solutions, you can keep our rivers, lakes, and streams clean! The last way to be “freshwater friendly” is to use “curb control.” Curb control is when people wash their car at home, things like soap, scum, and oily grit flows into their driveway. The runoff water then flows down the street along the curb and runs directly into storm drains. An interesting fact about “curb control” is that car wash runoff contains chemicals and numerous other pollutants in the scum and oils from the car body. Some solutions people could use to solve this problem is to use soap and cleaning products sparingly. Another solution is to use a hose with a trigger nozzle to conserve water. (It reduces runoff too.) People can also wash their car on a grassy area or a gravel area instead of an impervious driveway. This way, we can make sure that the chemicals in the soap and cleaning products doesn’t pollute our freshwater.

Ways people can keep our water fresh and friendly is to follow “pipe patrol,” be “poop etiquette,” and use “curb control.” People often don’t realize what they do in their daily routine that pollutes our freshwater. So, these are some ways you could help keep our water clean. Who knows, maybe people will start using these solutions in their daily routine.

Renewable Water Resources holds a “Be Freshwater Friendly” Essay Contest every spring in partnership with GREEN Charter School. Sixth grade student Bailee Hepola authored the first place winning essay for the 2017 “Be Freshwater Friendly” Essay Contest. To learn more about this campaign or other ReWa initiatives and opportunities, visit