Susan Buckley, RN, Director, Public Health
Ira Singh, MPH, Deputy Director
Donald I. Baird, MD, Health Officer

100 H Street, Suite 100
Eureka, CA 95501
(707) 445-6215
(707) 441-5699 FAX

Division of Environmental Health
Ocean Monitoring Program

Ten Simple Things Individuals Can Do to Help Protect the Health and Water Quality of Beaches

  1. Conserve water.  Reducing the amount of water you use at home, especially during the wet months, can help prevent sewage overflows at sewage treatment plants and from onsite sewage disposal systems.

  2. Reduce runoff.  Direct runoff from your roof and driveway to your lawn or garden to help reduce the amount of water entering the sewer and storm-drain system.

  3. Maintain onsite sewage disposal (septic) systems. Monitor the condition of your tank and field at least annually and have septic tanks pumped every 5 to 7 years. Failing onsite sewage disposal systems causing effluent to back up into the house or sewage to discharge on the ground need to be reported to Environmental Health to facilitate a repair as soon as possible.

  4. Pick up after your pets. Pick up animal waste when walking your pet and dispose of it in the garbage to reduce animal waste in stormwater runoff. Also, please donít litter. Litter often ends up on our beaches.

  5. Practice proper lawn and garden care.  Use natural fertilizers such as compost on your garden and minimize the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides. Also landscape with natural vegetation rather than lawns, which require fertilizers and herbicides.

  6. Practice proper marine and recreational boating-waste disposal. Donít dump sewage or trash overboard. Instead dispose of your boat sewage in onshore sanitary facilities.

  7. Learn about water quality at local beaches. This website offers a wealth of information on the water quality testing at local beaches. Also, go to Heal The Bay's website (www.healthebay.org) and EPAís website (www.epa.gov/OST/beaches) for data on state and national beach-monitoring programs.

  8. Choose your beaches carefully. Whenever possible, recreate in beach waters that are monitored for water quality. Heed closings and advisory warnings.

  9. Choose location of water recreation at beach carefully. If bacterial results indicate the water quality is close to exceeding recommended standards, swim and wade at least 50 yards from the mouth of the creek or river entering the beach. You also should not swim or wade in the waterway itself.

  10. Support legislation that promotes the cleanup of pollution sources. Write to your local politicians, and state and national representatives and let them know you support strong beach legislation and clean water.



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