Water – a transparent, odorless, tasteless liquid consisting of a compound of hydrogen and oxygen, that constitutes rain, oceans, lakes, rivers, etc., and is essential to life on earth.
Water is a natural resource that will not increase or decrease in amounts found on the earth, but it will take on different forms. 97% of earth’s water is salty, and only 3% is fresh. About 2/3 of the fresh water is frozen, which leaves only 1% of the earth’s water available for our use; therefore, it is vitally important that we work hard to keep it clean!
Our Elk River is an important resource to Limestone County. One of the biggest uses of the Elk River, other than recreation, is drinking water for the City of Athens Utilities and the Limestone County Water and Sewer Authority. Over 14 million gallons per day is drawn from the Elk River, purified, and sent to our homes and businesses.
Water from storms can pick up debris, chemicals, and other pollutants and flow into our lakes, streams, rivers, and wetlands. Water that enters a storm sewer system is discharged untreated into the water bodies we use for swimming, fishing, and provision of drinking water. Debris such as six-pack rings, bottles, plastic bags, and cigarette butts can choke, suffocate, or disable aquatic life like ducks, fish turtles, and birds. Household hazardous wastes like paint, solvents, used motor oil, insecticides, and pesticides can poison aquatic life. Land animals and people can become sick or die from eating diseased fish or ingesting polluted water.*
Here are some things you can do to insure you are not adding to water pollution:
• Use fertilizers and pesticides as little as possible. Use organic mulch or less dangerous pest control methods whenever possible.
• Repair oil or other fluid leaks and recycle your used motor oil and auto batteries at the Athens-Limestone Recycling Center or other collection center. Check with local transmission repair businesses to see if they will accept your used transmission fluid.
• Inspect your septic system every 3 years and pump your tank as necessary to prevent bacteria and viruses from leaking into storm water or ground water.
• Don’t dispose of household hazardous waste in sinks or toilets.
• Don’t litter. Place all trash in a garbage bag before placing it in your trashcan and place the lid on tight. Cover loads and don’t toss loose trash into your truck bed. Hold trash until you find a waste or recycling container. Trash littered miles away from our waterways can find their way to them by wind, rain, and wildlife.
ELK RIVER CANOE & KAYAK TRAIL CLEANUP
Be part of the solution!
At 8:00 a.m. Saturday, March 7th, volunteers will be gathering at the old fish hatchery off Hwy. 99 in West Limestone. TVA and Keep Athens-Limestone Beautiful will provide trash bags, gloves, pickup sticks, bottled water, and lunch to all volunteers.
Trash and debris will be removed from the river and land areas surrounding the Elk River. Everyone is welcome to come and help. There will be work suitable for everyone on land and on the river. Children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult and have liability waivers signed by a parent or guardian.
Kayaks will be available for use on a first-come, first-served basis. You may reserve them now by contacting KALB. Personal flat-bottom boats, kayaks, and canoes are also welcome. We will have a TVA boat that will cruise the river collecting debris from those cleaning on the river.
TVA is providing a sponsorship that will cover cash prizes to the top three registered groups picking up the most pounds of trash and recyclables. Teams must be registered by March 2nd. Prizes will be $250, $150, and $100 respectively. All volunteers are requested to register for lunch purposes, but you may come even if you haven’t registered.
For details and rules for the Team Challenge or information about the River Cleanup in general, please visit KALBCares.com, email KALBCares@gmail.com, or call 256-233-8000.
By: Lynne Hart
* Source: Alabama Clean Water Partnership