August is National Water Quality Month. Access to safe, quality water is important for everyone. Learn how to protect your water and prevent contamination of local water supplies. It matters for everyone.

Water Quality Month Tips for Homeowners

Get information from your municipal water suppliers

Luckily, the United States has some of the healthiest water supplies in the world. Municipal water suppliers are required to provide information on water quality and are highly regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
We recommend learning what you can from your local water sources, including contaminants, bacteria, and more.

Test your water for contaminants and hardness

Hard water, which contains heavy metals and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and manganese, is a common problem that affects millions of homeowners.

The effects of hard water are many:

Mineral buildup, scaling, and soap scum around drains, sinks, and bathtubs
Spots on dishes and shower doors
Difficulty cleaning and removing soaps and detergents
Clogged pipes
Compromised water heater performance and reduced efficiency

The best way to solve your hard water problems is by speaking with your local plumber about a water softening system which exchanges the hard ions in your water for soft ones.
The only way to tell if you have contaminants and hard minerals in your water is to test it (contact OnTime Service and we would be happy to test your water). While public water systems are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency, private wells are not. Homeowners who get their water from private wells will have to take extra precautions to make sure their water is safe to use.
To learn more about protecting your private water wells, visit EPA’s Private Drinking Water Wells and CDC’s Private Wells page.

Ask a professional about water filtration and softening options

Contact a professional to test your water. If any contaminants are found in your water supply, your expert plumber will be able to recommend various water treatment systems to improve the quality of your drinking water.
Various water treatment options are available, such as point-of-use and whole-home water filtration, reverse osmosis, and water softeners. Filtration systems will be able to remove harmful contaminants from the water supply while also improving the taste and odor.

Care for your lawn the responsible way

How you take care of your lawn affects the environment. For instance, when you overwater your lawn or use too much water washing your car, the resulting runoff can carry fertilizers, pesticides, and other harmful chemicals into the groundwater supply. It also wastes money and money.

Here are a few tips for maintaining a healthy lawn:

Use healthy soil (contains key nutrients and the right pH balance)
Choose grass type suitable for your climate
Mow high (around 2.5-3.5 inches), often, and with sharp blades
Water slowly and deeply, but not too often (early morning is the best time)

Use these tips for using pesticides correctly:

All pesticides are toxic to some degree (especially if misused)
Read and follow instructions carefully
Never use more than the amount specified
Always wear protective clothing, such as gloves, long sleeves, long pants, gloves, and masks (wash this clothing separately before using again)
Keep all children and pets away for at least the amount of time specified in the instructions
Follow all local and state requirements for posting about treated lawns and notifying neighbors
Store and dispose of pesticides according to instructions on the label and any local/state requirements
If you have any questions, contact the EPA’s National Pesticide Information Center (1-800-858-7378)

Dispose of harmful materials properly

Too often, harmful chemicals and toxins make their way into our water supplies.
Make sure you are properly disposing of the following substances:

Flea collars
Leftover paint
Cleaning supplies
Motor Oil

As mentioned before, don’t overuse pesticides or fertilizers, and make sure you follow the instructions carefully.

Work with your local water utility for promoting source water protection

Providing annual drinking water quality reports (consumer confidence reports)
Creating opportunities for public participation, such as water board meetings and public forums
Educating consumers
Identifying potential sources of contamination
Identifying and organizing other stakeholders
Working directly with owners and managers of potential sources of pollution

Our goal is to improve the health and happiness of homeowners in the Birmingham area, which includes helping our environment. With our combined efforts, we can make a positive impact on the water quality for all.
For more tips and information, don’t hesitate to contact OnTime Service.