Editor: Sediment, fertilizer, pesticides and herbicides, oil, litter, pet and farm animal waste, litter – these are non-point source pollutants that have a detrimental effect in our local waterways.
Suburban lawn treatment, removing mass amounts of trees and turning vegetated areas into houses, buildings and data centers with Loudoun’s continued construction, stream banks that are eroding under large amounts of stormwater runoff, certain farming practices and overuse of single-use plastics are just a few ways that humans generate this pollution, which lays on the land until it rains. With the rain, the pollution washes off with stormwater runoff caused by increasing amounts of roadways, roofs, driveways, parking lots (impervious surfaces). These pollutants concentrate in our waterways, disrupting the entire ecosystem and polluting our drinking water.
Our local streams are important because humans rely on them for resources such as clean water and recreation. Our waterways and the resources they provide us also support our economy. That is why it is important to keep the streams healthy so we can be healthy. Our local waterways are connected to the Potomac River, the Chesapeake Bay and finally the Atlantic Ocean. Everything we do locally can have an impact downstream.
The people of Loudoun should be educated on stream health and take action to protect local streams. We all use water, so it is of utmost importance that we all take care of our precious natural resource. Can we create new water if we run out of clean water? No. Water is a finite resource. Out of all the water on Earth, less than 1% of the earth’s water is available for human use. Let’s respect it by not polluting it.
How can the residents of Loudoun get involved? Contact local organizations who focus on stream health, such as the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy, Izaak Walton League of America – Save our Streams, Goose Creek Association, Loudoun Soil and Water Conservation District and Loudoun Stormwater all work to keep our waters healthy. Reach out to your Board of Supervisors to let them know your perspective on continuous development of our land. Find ways you can reduce, re-use and recycle at home. If the residents of Loudoun don’t become more educated and involved, soon, our streams could be polluted to the point of no return, that is why we must help in whichever way we can. Stream monitoring, following recommendations on best management practices for farming and suburban lawn care, advocating for balanced development of our land and simply staying educated on your local stream health through these organizations are all things that can make a difference.
Do your part in reversing the trend of polluted water by becoming educated about the environmental and health effects of polluted water. Besides, the next time you take a sip of water who knows what type of pollution may be in it?
Sharanya Maddukuri, Ashburn