Why is it Important to Manage Small Quantity Chemical Use Near Sources of Drinking Water?
First, understand that it is up to you. You need to be willing to learn. You need to be willing to join the team and take action. The average citizen dumps 1 gallon a year of toxic cleaning products into their septic systems. That does not sound like much until you multiply it by hundreds and thousands of individuals. A thousand gallons of toxic chemicals can destroy ground water supplies and subsequently the drinking water resource.
Many businesses use small quantities of toxic chemicals in their daily operations that can also add up to big problems. Dry cleaners, beauty shops, photo finishers, vehicle repair shops, printers, laboratories, water supply facilities, academic institutions, nursing homes, medical facilities and many others. De-greasing, cleaning, polishing, paint preparation, rust removal, photo processing, and waste disposal are just a fraction of the activities that can contaminate ground water. If these chemicals are accidentally or intentionally discharged into sewers, septic systems, dry wells or illicitly dumped on the ground or into a natural water source, they can contribute to; the inability of publicly-owned treatment works (POTWs) to properly treat waste water, septic system failure, and contaminated ground water.
Chemical users should always ensure that when hiring a hauler to carry waste off-site, that the they are properly licensed and deliver the waste to appropriate disposal sites. It is the business’s responsibility to know where their waste goes.
It is important to know that some of these chemicals can harm human health even in small doses by contaminating large amounts of drinking water. Perchloroethylene, a dry cleaning residue for example, causes kidney and liver damage in both humans and animals. It is among the most common contaminants in ground water and a very small amount can contaminate many thousands of gallons of water.
Some of the easiest and least expensive practices can produce the most effective pollution prevention results.