Improve Water Quality

What can you do to improve water quality? What actions can you take to make a difference to water quality and the environment? Ensure that Illinois' rivers, streams and lakes will support all uses for which they are designated including protection of aquatic life, recreation and drinking water supplies. Ensure the public water system will provide water that is consistently safe to drink. Protect Illinois' groundwater resource for designated drinking water and other beneficial uses.

Improving Quality Tips
  • Avoid hazardous household products
  • Don't misuse the sewage system
  • Don't use pesticides or other hazardous materials in your garden
  • Don't dump hazardous products into storm drains
  • Pick up pet waste
Rain Garden
Rain gardens are probably the easiest and most cost efficient thing a homeowner can do to reduce their contribution to storm water pollution. Rain gardens capture rainwater from roofs, driveways and sidewalks by diverting it into an area where it can slowly soak into the ground, filter contaminants and keep quantities of clean water from going down the sewer system. A rain garden is much like a regular perennial garden in that it is designed with deep rooted plants like flowers, grasses, trees and shrubs. In some locations 90% of a 1-inch rainfall would be absorbed by the rain garden.
  • Reduce flooding, erosion and storm water system usage
  • Rain gardens are lovely landscaping features
  • Protect local streams and lakes from storm water pollutants
  • Rain garden projects are a good education tool
Porous Pavement
Reducing or minimizing impermeable surfaces such as pavement is another way to reduce stormwater runoff and allow water to soak into the ground. If you can’t reduce the hard surfaces you might consider installing porous paving. There are many different types of porous paving materials that can be used in driveways and sidewalk installations and patios such as bricks, flagstones, interlocking pavers, stone and various types of porous asphalt and concrete.

Save Water
Saving water is good for the earth, your family and your community. When you use water wisely, you help the environment. You save water for fish and animals. You help preserve drinking water supplies. And you ease the burden on wastewater treatment plants - the less water you send down the drain, the less work these plants have to do to make water clean again. When you use water wisely, you save energy. You save the energy that your water supplier uses to treat and move water to you, and the energy your family uses to heat your water.
  • When watering a lawn, the usage is about 600 gallons per hour per spigot so 4 hours of watering on 2 spigots = 4,800 gallons used.
  • Use a broom or blower, not a water hose, to clean the driveway.
  • Keep grass 2 - 3 inches long. Longer blades reduce evaporation.
  • Set sprinklers to water the lawn only - not the pavement.
  • Use sprinklers that spray low larger drops rather than high fine ones.
  • Plant in the spring or fall when plants can benefit from the rain and cooler temperatures.
  • Dig basins around plants to catch water.
  • Water slowly at the roots - not on leaves or foliage to develop deeper roots.
  • Mulch can be organic or inorganic; using 2 - 6 inches of mulch around plants lessens evaporation.
  • When washing a car, wet car quickly and turn off the hose. Use a bucket full of soapy water to wash car quickly and rinse.
  • Check your pool system for leaks, cover to reduce evaporation, and keep water level low enough to avoid splashing water out of the pool.
  • Repair or replace leaky hoses and faucets. Place shut-off valves to outside spigots (inside home) to control outside usage.
  • Abide by local watering restrictions while in effect.
  • Washing machines are the largest water user in your home. Usage is 50 gallons or more per load. Wash only full loads.
  • Repair leaks and install water saving devise. (Flow restriction faucets)
  • If washing dishes by hand, do not leave the water running.