Conserve water in your home
You might say that the Port Moody Arm consists of primarily salt water so how does water conservation at home really effect water in the Arm. Well if you think back to grade 8 geography, the water cycle is cyclic meaning that it is all interconnected. Here in Port Moody the water that comes out of our taps, that our washer machines and dishwashers use, that flow out of showerheads and fill our toilets is all treated to drinking water quality. This water is sourced from freshwater reservoirs in the area. If humans didn’t play a role in the water cycle, water would flow from lakes, rivers and streams directly into the ocean. Our consumption of water means that an extra step is added to the water cycle slowing down the process of transfer of freshwater to saltwater, making less water available for evapotranspiration which eventually returns water to our lakes, rivers and streams in the form of precipitation. So even though water cannot be created or destroyed, we as a society slow down the cyclical process. By decreasing our demand on freshwater, then water flows into the ocean more quickly and is then available for other animals that need it, such as the fish that make use of the Port Moody Arm.
The steps to conserving water in your home are simple, and you’ve seen them before, but do you make conscientious effort to make a difference? Try:
- Turning the tap off when you brush your teeth, it’s soo simple!
- Limiting your showers to 5 minutes, unless you are scrubbing every pore on your skin, you can easily suds up and rinse off in that time frame while washing your hair.
- If you do already take short showers consider this strategy, turn on the water, rinse, turn off the water suds up, turn the water back on and rinse again - you’ll be surprised at how little water you use implementing this strategy!
- Save yourself time and conserve on water by only doing laundry when you have a full loads worth.
- Put food coloring in your toilet tank. If it seeps into the toilet bowl without flushing, you have a leak. Fixing it can save up to 1,000 gallons a month.
- Keep a jug of water in your fridge that way you will always have cold water on hand and will not have to run the tap to get cold water which wastes this precious resource.
Adhere to the City's sprinkling regulations
As the temperature on the barometer rises, so does the demand for freshwater. In order to affectively address this demand the City has developed water sprinkling regulations. Adhere to these to ensure that there is sufficient water for our fish friends. Find more information on the regulations.
Don’t use garborators
Although the waste that goes through garborators is sent to a waste water treatment facility, it is very possible for larger pieces of food to get through the waste water treatment system and end up back in our waters. This can be harmful to fish as food contains nutrients that can lower oxygen levels in the ocean depleting oxygen available to fish. Clogging, created by solid waste build up in city water mains can create sewer overflows which are diverted to storm drains which empty directly into the stream. Find more information on the use of garborators.
Dispose pharmaceuticals properly
Wastewater treatment in Metro Vancouver undergoes secondary treatment at most which means that pharmaceuticals, hormones and other organics and inorganics are not removed from the system. These substances, once in our waterways, can have devastating effects on fish such as forcing abnormal sex alterations in male fish. Commit to not flushing old pharmaceuticals including prescriptions, throat lozenges and mineral supplements down the toilet or pouring them out the sink. Find information on how to dispose of these products or call 604.732.9253. Here in Port Moody, the following pharmacies participate in a take back program:
- Meditrust 202-3003 St. John's St V3H 2C4 604-461-5310
- Pharmasave #045 - Newport Village 103 - 205 Newport Drive V3H 5C9 604-461-0136
- Pharmasave Health Centre #051 2525 St. Johns Street V3H 2B3 604-936-2273
- Redwood Drugs 8 - 2402 St. Johns Street V3H 2B1 604-931-2477
- Shoppers Drug Mart #2107 250-221 Ioco Rd V3H 4H2 604-461-1541
- Shoppers Drug Mart #2244 3215 St. John's Street V3H 2E1 604-461-4030
- Thrifty Foods and Pharmacy #23 170 Brew Street V3H 0E7 604-949-4253
Use phosphate free cleaners at home
Phosphate is a nutrient that is found in most soap products. When released into watercourses, phosphate can lead to eutrophication which is a process in which primary productivity (the growth of plants) is increased so much that it kills off fish and other organisms.
Install water saving appliances and fixtures
Water saving appliances and fixtures not only save water for the fish, but they save you money as well as you reduce your water and electricity consumption. The City of Port Moody Building Code states that all new developments must install such appliances and fixtures. If you are not in the market for a new house, consider replacing your old fixtures and appliances which often have rebates associated with them.
Fix a leaky faucet
A leaky faucet can waster over 11,000 litres of water a year, this wastes water for the fish and money in your pocket. Tighten your tap, or collect this water in a bowl and use it to cook with or to water your plants.
Protect riparian vegetation
Riparian vegetation is the vegetation found along the shores of lakes, rivers, streams and ocean shores. This vegetation is essential to maintaining the health of water courses, root systems keep shoreline in place, the plants themselves provide much needed shade to fish and invertebrates. Finally, shoreline vegetation can act as a filter to liquids flowing towards a water way. Given this information, it is important to not pull or harvest this vegetation in order to protect fish habitat.
Plant native vegetation
Planting native vegetation on your lawn helps reduce the spread of invasive species such as the Japanese knotweed which has vegetated many riparian areas in Port Moody. As invasive vegetation spreads attempts to control it include pulling it out which can inevitably weaken local shorelines leading to erosion and degraded water quality. Avoid this by planting only native plants on your lawn.
This is a simple process that has many benefits, it involves leaving your grass clippings on your lawn after cutting. By doing so you are improving the quality of your lawn as the grass clippings decay, they act as mulch, release nitrogen that is essential to the growth of the grass and they encourage aeration by worms. Furthermore, you save time by not bagging your clippings. Grasscycling also protects fish habitat by reducing the amount of waste sent to the landfill which reduces the number of trips made by a waste disposal truck and in the end reduces greenhouse gas emissions which lead to increased water temperatures through climate change.
Use minimal amounts of fertilizer on your lawn and in your garden
The City of Port Moody was the first city in western Canada to ban the use of cosmetic pesticides. This ban has been a step in the right direction to help protect fish habitat in Port Moody Arm. However, fertilizer may still be applied to lawns and gardens. Fertilizers contain nutrients such as phosphorous, nitrogen and potassium that help your plants and lawn grow. Unfortunately, these nutrients can lead to eutrophication of our water courses which can deplete fish stocks, among many other implications. So, if you intend on applying fertilizers in your yard, do so sparingly, any excess will run off into our local streams and rivers and into Port Moody Arm. Maintain your garden and lawn naturally with these tips.
Don't dump toxins into your storm drain
Did you know that water that enters the storm drains on our streets flows directly into our streams, rivers and the Port Moody Arm? This water is not treated prior to entering the watercourses. That being said, fish as susceptible to water is in this rain water including toxic chemicals commonly found in run off such as oil, salt, soap and fertilizers. As a result, it is important not only that we avoid excessive use of such substances, but that we also do not drain any substances into storm drains. The City of Port Moody has made an effort to remind residents of this important message through the application of fish habitat signs at streams throughout the city. Also note that the following substances are prohibited from storm drains; dirt, oil, grease, paint, fuel, solvent and soap. Be conscious of the products that you use in your driveway and on your lawn and where they may end up. Also, do not participate in the dumping of prohibited substances into storm water drains.
Give your vehicle an environmentally friendly wash
When we wash our cars in our driveways, the waste water flows directly into our stormwater drains which ends up untreated back into our waterways. This water can contain harmful oils, gasoline, other car fluids, dirt, salt and soap. Consider washing your car with environmentally sound cleaners that do not contain phosphate which degrades water quality and can lead to fish kills. Visit a local car wash that recycles its water or treats their waste water. Commercial car washes tend to use 60% less water to get the job done than the average person does in their driveway.
Fix fluid leaks on your vehicle
Vehicle fluids that leak from your vehicle can be washed down to storm drains and into our waterways during a rainfall. All of these substances are toxic and can have lethal impacts on fish populations. Keep your car well maintained to minimize fluid leaks.
Recycle used motor oil
Do not dump used oil down storm water drains, instead recycle it. Use an oil pan when changing your vehicle’s motor oil in order to properly collect oil and recycle it.