Dedicated to the environment

Am I responsible for water pollution?

On Behalf of | May 18, 2021 | Environmental Law |

Like many in Georgia, you may appreciate the precious and delicate nature of the water systems that provide for the needs of citizens as well as sustaining countless forms of plants and animals that are vital to a healthy environment. Protecting the streams, rivers, lakes, wetlands and shorelines is not a duty only for government entities. Each individual plays an important role. 

You may be able to point to obvious sources of pollution, such as farms, factories, mills or other industries in your area. While these are certainly an issue, it often takes very little to disrupt the delicate environmental balance. It may also take only a few people to make positive changes that will preserve clean water or restore areas damaged by pollution. 

Where does the pollution come from? 

The decisions you make every day can affect the health of surface and ground water. The substances you throw in the trash, pour down the drain or dump onto the ground may easily end up in the soil and groundwater and may lead to contamination, an imbalance of nutrients, or even hazardous or toxic conditions. Some of the most common products that end up in the water systems through careless disposal include: 

  • Pesticides, including flea collars and moth balls 
  • Fertilizer and other garden chemicals 
  • Motor oil 
  • Household cleaners, including drain openers 
  • Cans that contain unused paint 
  • Prescription and over-the-counter medications 

Reading the labels of these and other products may help you find safer ways to dispose of them without risking polluting the soil or water. Additionally, if you have a septic system, it is important that you schedule regular inspections and pumping to avoid the danger of waste seeping or overflowing into nearby groundwater. 

Take your concern to the next level 

It can be frustrating when you take every precaution to protect your local waterways but other businesses and individuals continue to place those precious resources at risk. You may decide to take your actions one step further and raise awareness by joining other community partners or starting a volunteer group to focus on one or more aspects of water preservation.  

This may include cleaning along beaches or wetlands, stenciling street drains or posting signs to alert the public. You may even have cause to take legal action against those who persist in polluting or misusing the waterways in violation of Georgia’s clean water laws. 

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