Here is a list of the Top 5 DO NOT'S to help protect the water quality of Owasco Lake.
1. DO NOT wash your dog, boat, hoist, or dock (or anything!) in the
lake. When soap detergents, and cleaners enter the lake, chemicals
and phosphorus are released into the water. The best place to wash
vehicles is at a car wash where the used water can be treated properly.
At home, instead of washing on the driveway, choose a piece of lawn
away from the lake – the grass can help absorb and filter some of the
dirt and suds.
2. DO NOT dump leaves, grass clippings, or yard debris into the lake.
Plant material releases excess nutrients into the water as they
decompose. Too much nutrients can lead to algae blooms, fish kills,
and excessive aquatic plant growth. Leaving your grass clippings on
the lawn, or mulching your leaves can provide natural fertilizer. If
you must rake, bag your leaves in paper sacks until they can be
picked up or composted. Remember that storm drains and ditches
can also carry leaves to nearby waters!
3. DO NOT expose soil without protecting it from erosion. When
eroded sediment is washed into the lake it can smother fish habitat
and promote the growth of various weeds. Sediment is a big threat
because it can muddy the water and increase turbidity. Construction
sites, and other exposed soils, should have the proper erosion control
4. DO NOT dispose of household hazardous wastes in the lake, on the
ground, or down storm drains and ditches. Household chemicals like
antifreeze, paint, motor oil, cleaning detergents, degreasers, pesticides,
and fertilizers are harmful to your health and the health of the lake.
Remember the land in the watershed all drains to the lake! Never
dump anything you wouldn’t want to drink!! To learn how to dispose
of these substances properly, contact Cornell Coperative Extension
of Cayuga County.
5. DO NOT neglect your septic system. One of the most common
watershed violations is failing septic systems! When out-dated or
abused septic systems fail, bacteria-ridden wastewater can pollute
the lake and contaminate backyards, groundwater, wells, and
swimming areas. Take proper care of your septic system by having
it inspected regularly. The average system requires a pumping every
3-5 years. The average lifespan of a well-maintained septic system
is 30-40 years. If you suspect your system is in need of repair or
replacement, fit the necessary costs into your budget. A new system
may come with a price tag, but you will be investing in the value of
your home, as well as your family’s health and the well-being of the
lake. Remember to obtain the necessary permits before you do any
work on your septic system.
(adapted from Skanaeteles Watershed Guidance - CCE)