June 2023
Backyard Conversation
Connecting Community + Conservation
Welcome to the Backyard Conversation! Each month we'll be sharing a conservation topic from a more personal viewpoint for our readers. To make this successful, I want to hear feedback from you! I'll include a poll at the bottom regarding our topic and share links to some of our partner organizations with similar messages. So, let's get to it!
Clean Water Tips
Keep These Common Pollutants Out of Waterways
Heal Our Waterways
Sometimes, we sadly run into some of these pollutants in local waterways: concrete washout, paint, leaking vehicle/equipment fluids, tires, and trash. You might first think illegal, intentional dumping, but there are contributors who truly do not know or understand that our storm drains go out to our creeks and rivers - not the sewer plant. There are a lot of sources of stormwater pollution at home. Some common ones are pet waste, lawn chemicals, motor oil, detergents, chemicals, paint and concrete washout, and trash.
How do these pollutants end up in waterways?
Say you're painting at home. When you're done, you wash your brushes out in the curb. Stop - don't do that! You're washing paint into the curb which leads to the storm drain. Instead, we recommend washing paint brushes in a sink inside so it goes to the sanitary sewer instead of the storm drain. This is just one common example of residential stormwater pollution. However, we can all take small steps to ensure these pollutants stay out of our waterways. Proper waste disposal keeps pollutants out of the environment.
Dry It, Don't Dump It
Speaking of paint, not sure what to do with leftover paint? This is how you dispose of paint properly.

Latex and Water-based Paint
  • Dry It, Don't Dump It. Dry out latex and water-based paint by thickening it into a solid using cat litter, sand, dry dirt or a commercially sold paint hardener. Let it completely dry, and then leave it out for the municipal trash, but take the lid off so the collectors can see that it is solid.

Oil-based Paint
Don't Drip & Drive!
When was the last time you checked your vehicle or equipment for leaks? It's very easy to get busy and forget to do this important step. Check your vehicles and equipment regularly for any leaks and damage. Those leaks can end up in the storm drain and waterways. If you find a leak check out the handy chart below to help diagnose a leak, or take it to a mechanic. If you have old motor oil to dispose, find a local motor oil recycling station near you. Remember, Don't Drip & Drive!
Know A Business That Cares About Water Quality? Ask Them To Take The Pledge!
Businesses can take simple actions like fixing dumpster leaks, cleaning spills with absorbents instead of hosing them into a drain, and storing chemicals properly to keep our waterways clean! Take the Water Quality Partner pledge today to show your customers and employees that you care about clean water in your community.
Community Backyards Rebate Program
If you want to learn more about backyard conservation, native plants, rain gardens, and rain barrels, please check out our Community Backyards rebate program. We have some local, in-person workshops coming up, and the online course is open now.

Franklin County residents can participate in a workshop or the online course (you only need to do one or the other - not both), and receive a voucher for a rebate on a rain barrel, compost bin, or native plants and trees. Learn more and participate at CommunityBackyards.org.

Don't live in Franklin County? Check with your local county's soil and water district for programs available to you!
Question of the Month
Pick one action you will take at home to ensure pollutants stay out of our waterways.
I will properly dispose of latex paint, dried, in the trash.
I will check my vehicles and equipment for leaks.
I will wash paint brushes in the sink.
Get the Scoop from Nature Scoop

Want to learn more about backyard conservation, pollinators, and more? Read the latest edition of the monthly newsletter Nature Scoop by Toni Stahl, National Wildlife Federation Habitat Ambassador.

Nature Scoop June 2023 - How to feed butterflies that don't eat flower nectar; Plant rash tips; Info for our yards and gardens & More!

Learn more at www.backyardhabitat.info and on Twitter @NatureScoopOhio.
Mikaela Mohr
Outreach Program Specialist
Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District
1404 Goodale Blvd. Suite 100, Columbus, OH 43212 
p: 614-486-9613 | e: mmohr@franklinswcd.org
Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District | (614) 486-9613 | www.franklinswcd.org