The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has designated August as National Water Quality Month. With the uninterrupted availability of clean drinking water in the U.S., we often fail to recognize how regular human activities impact our water quality. National Water Quality Month reminds us how our actions affect our waterways.

Congress has passed two benchmark acts, the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act, to help protect our waterways. The Clean Water Act, passed in 1972, is the primary federal law governing water pollution. The act established goals of eliminating the release of high amounts of toxic substances into water, eliminating additional water pollution, and ensuring that surface waters meet set standards for human sports and recreation. While the Clean Water Act addresses surface waters, the Safe Drinking Water Act, passed in 1974, ensures the quality of American’s drinking water by protecting groundwater and public water systems.

The Clean Water Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act and environmentally responsible Americans help safeguard the availability of clean drinking water in the U.S. Below are some ways you can help:

Use a broom, not a hose, to clean off your driveway – get toned arms while helping the environment!

Install a rain barrel to collect rainwater – use the collected water to wash your car or water your lawn or gardens and save money on your water bill!

Reduce or eliminate pesticide and fertilizer application by testing your soil before applying chemicals – save money and the environment by only applying when you need to!

Take used oil or antifreeze to a service station or recycling center – most places do not charge a fee for recycling, some even offer discounts on future purchases!

Walk pets in grassy areas and parks, instead of by waterways, and always pick up after your pet – you don’t have to clean muddy pets or clothes and you can see gorgeous flowers!  

Get involved in your local community by adopting a watershed and organize stream cleanups, plant trees to prevent erosion, and monitor water quality – meet your neighbors, spend time the beautiful outdoors, and help the environment!