County mailing focuses on clean-water education

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 28, 2002

Water is the main focus of the next issue of Freeborn County T.I.M.E.S., a newsletter by the County Environmental Services department.

County Watershed Technician Andy Henschel, who is in charge of the edition, said, &uot;I hope the information will help the residents in the county understand the importance of best-management practices.&uot;

The articles in the issue, which will be sent out to every household across the county, target city dwellers as well as farmers, who are commonly associated with the water pollution because of septic-tank use, farming and feedlots.

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&uot;Clean lakes and waterways are not just a rural problem,&uot; the issue says. &uot;Current statistics show that people who live in the city use ten times more chemicals per acre of their lawn, garden or flowerbeds than farmers do on their fields.&uot;

When dumped on a paved street or driveway in the city, the water, leaves, grasses, pesticides and petroleum products end up flowing into the lakes through the storm sewer.

The yard waste that used to fall on the soil, which contains phosphorous and nitrogen, was mostly decomposed in the past. But today, with more paved streets

and storm sewer systems, someone living miles from the lakes could be a contributor to lake pollution, providing a source for algae growth.

Here are some tips to avoid contaminating the lakes by mowing your yard grasses:

– Mow only enough to keep your grass length to three to three-and-a-half inches high.

– Do not rake clippings; leave them on the lawn instead.

– Sweep the sidewalk, driveway or street.

– Water only when it has not rained for seven days.

The University of Minnesota Extension Service offers a soil test so residents can know the most appropriate level of fertilizer they should put on the yard. The test costs $7 and takes about 10 days to get a result.