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Keep It Blue - What Can I do?

Keep It Blue - Only Rain in the Drain

Click here to learn about septic systems [Click to open page septic.asp in a new window
Click here to learn about septic systems

Steps to Cleaner Water


  1. Never DUMP anything down a storm drain.  Be sure to keep leaves, trash and debris out of storm drains too. 
  2. Report any type of water pollution by calling the Pollution Emergency Alerting System Hotline at 1-800-292-4706.  For immediate and obvious threats to public health/safety call 911.  

  3. Maintain your septic system every 3-5 years.  Septic System Care

  4. Plant rain gardens and natural shorelines to filter polluted runoff. Click here to view the Garden Designs for Homeowners booklet.  Click here toClick to here to learn about Rain Gardens! learn more about Rain Gardens for your yard.  Learn more about Natural Shorelines for Inland Lakes.

  5. Pick up after your pet and throw the waste in the garbage. Pick up after your pet

  6. Take your car to the car wash instead of washing it in the driveway. Car Washing
  7. Check for and fix oil leaks in mechanical equipment (ex. automobiles and lawn equipment).
  8.  Take all unwanted chemicals, paint, oil, etc, to designated collection sites. Hazardous waste disposal information for Berrien County, household chemical waste disposal and recycling information for Van Buren County, and household chemical waste disposal information for Cass County
  9. Use fertilizers sparingly and sweep up driveways, sidewalks, and roads. Lawn Care Practices
  10. Compost your yard waste and food waste into good gardening soil.
  11. Use environmentally friendly, biodegradable, septic safe household cleaners and soaps, instead of toxic chemically based ones.
  12. Install a water-efficient shower-head. They're inexpensive, easy to install, and can save you hundreds of gallons of water a month.

  13. Close any abandoned wells on your property. They can act as conduits for contamination of groundwater. 

  14. Above and under ground fuel storage tanks are a major source of contamination. Check both regularly for leaks.

  15. Clean, Drain, Dry. That is the slogan to preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species. With many of us going out on the water this summer, take a few moments to do your part to protect this valuable resource. Without your efforts, your favorite swimming or fishing spot could be changed forever. Click here to view a video to learn more! or click here to get more tips!

  16. Tips for Winter Water Conservation


Click here for a fact sheet on other things you can do at home to protect water quality


Click here to view ways to protect water quality! 


 View what a rain garden does!

Click here to view a presentation on rain gardens in southwest Michigan! 


Water saving tips

  • Set the water level on your washing machine to match the load amount.
  • Run the dishwasher when it is full and not partially full.
  • Purchase water efficient appliances. Learn more.

Other Tips:


What can we do to improve the infiltration of groundwater?

  • Use and encourage others to use Low Impact Development 
  • Direct your downspouts onto grass or other soft ground, away from pavement
  • Vegetate bare spots in your yard or plant a vegetable garden. 
  • Plant native, drought tolerant, erosion-controlling ground covers instead of lawns to reduce pesticide, herbicide, and fertilizer runoff.  For more information on using native plants click here! 





This page last updated on 9/22/2020.
Southwest Michigan Planning Commission  
376 West Main Street  Suite 130  Benton Harbor, MI 49022-3651
Phone: 269.925.1137  Fax: 269.925.0288  

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