Keep our rivers healthy

26 Jul

La Salle River Manitoba – Help keep this and all rivers healthy and beautiful!

Sitting by the bank of the La Salle River I smile as I see two people paddle by in a canoe.  I wave and they smile and wave back, clearly enjoying the natural beauty that surrounds them.  A loud smack of a beaver’s tail can be heard in the distance as it warns its fellow beavers of the oncoming canoe.  Occasionally I see a deer come to the water for a drink and see a fish jump leaving circular ripples on the waters surface.

I think to myself, “How lucky am I?!  I get to live near such beauty!”

On occasion however, as I travel down the river I see things that are so disappointing and lead me to believe that not everyone shares my love of our water.  Travelling west along the river I pass by an old bathtub partially submerged in the water.  I see an occasional tin can floating by.  As I continue I see a large algae bloom and soon discover the source.  A home owner with the most pristine of lawns has been dumping lawn clippings into the river.   Clumps of grass float on the surface of the slow moving river, a green scum surrounds them.

Throwing inorganic material into the waterways shoud be a no brainer.  Just don’t.

As for organic materials such as yard waste or food waste, you may think, “It’s all good.  Organic stuff will just biodegrade – no harm done, right?”

Wrong!  High levels of nutrients provided by organic waste feed the aquatic plants and algae causing them to grow too much.  This overgrowth causes oxygen depletion in the water which in turn affects the health of fish and other organisms.  The overgrowth of algae will also cause unsightly scum and a foul odour.

Think since you don’t live next to the river you are not having an effect on its health?

Wrong again!  If you live in a town, rain water running off your roof and pavement will make its way into storm drains which typically return the water to a river.  Any contaminants that are picked up from your driveway or lawn are carried into these drainage systems.  Pollutants from farms are washed into ditches and carried to the rivers.

Some interesting facts from Environment Canada:

  • One drop of oil can render up to 25 litres of water unfit for drinking.
  • One gram of 2,4-D (a common household herbicide) can contaminate ten million litres of drinking water.

Many communities get their drinking water from nearby rivers.  Fortunately we have effective water treatment facilities and our drinking water is safe.  We need to take care not the jeopordize this by making efforts to reduce water pollution.

How you can help:

  • Don’t throw organic or  inorganic waste into the rivers
  • Reduce chemical use in your yard and garden
  • Avoid spilling things such as gas and oil on driveways and streets
  • Use environmentally friendly cleaning products for cleaning driveways

If we all do our part we will continue to have a beautiful place for recreation, a healthy environment for fish and wildlife and a great source of safe drinking water for years to come.


3 Responses to “Keep our rivers healthy”

  1. elle July 27, 2012 at 4:37 pm #

    Well said! I too cherish our land and waterways. Thank you for making us all more aware.

  2. safedrinkingwaterdotcom August 12, 2012 at 7:29 pm #

    You are a keen observer of your environment. Most folks look past the trash and don’t understand that they are polluting their own space on this planet. Also, I rarely see a blog, tweet or whatever that warns against individuals releasing contaminants into drinking water supplies. It is always big, bad industry that is to blame. Thank you for a wonderful essay.

  3. safedrinkingwaterdotcom August 13, 2012 at 12:17 pm #

    Camille–I have a suggestion for your blog postings. It was just pointed out to me that my posts did not clearly identify me as the author. I said, “Nah, that can’t be.” Uh, yes it can. I have now added “by Michael J. McGuire” to all of my postings right before the text begins. The extra trick I added was to make my name a link leading to my Amazon Author page at
    Part of the reason for me writing the blog is to build a community that might be interested in buying a book that will be coming out in spring 2013–The Chlorine Revolution: A Physician-Engineer Partnership Conquers Waterborne Disease. With this simple change, people who wonder who I am will end up at Amazon where they will hopefully consider buying my book. Just a thought.

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