Water: Contaminated Sediments
How to Prevent
What can private citizens and individual households do to prevent sediment contamination?
Preventing further sediment contamination is everyone's responsibility. Many people overlook one major source of water contaminants: individual households. The small amounts of cleaners, solvents, motor oil, and other toxic materials dumped down the drain or onto the lawn or driveway of a single household may seem insignificant. When thousands or millions of households release toxic substances in this way, however, the effect is substantial. The contaminants flow into sewage treatment plants, which are not designed to remove chemicals. Thus, the contaminants enter the water cycle and may end up in sediments.
You can help by exploring environmentally friendly alternatives to household cleaners, by recycling motor oil, and by responsibly disposing of paint cans, household chemical containers, and insecticides.
What resources are available?
Many towns and counties sponsor hazardous waste disposal centers. Please use them.
As a citizen, encourage your town, county, or state to enforce environmental protection laws and to pursue watershed-based management. Remind your representatives in government and your fellow citizens that contaminated sediments affect not only wildlife, but can seriously harm people, too.
Another way you can help is by passing this message about contaminated sediments to others. Order copies of the brochure: Introduction to Contaminated Sediments.
- Aquatic Ecosystem Health and Management Society
- EPA's Contaminated Sediment Management Strategy (1998)
- European Sediment Research Network
- Los Angeles Basin Contaminated Sediments Task Force
- Minnesota Pollution Control Agency - Contaminated Sediments
- Sediment Management Work Group
- Washington Department of Ecology Sediment Management Program
- Wisconsin's Contaminated Sediment Program