To the rescue: a better way for our waterways
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Mar 12, 2009  |  Vote 0    0

To the rescue: a better way for our waterways

Stratford Gazette

Tamara HarbarGoing GreenLast week, I wrote about OCWA-Man's super-hero power of turning raw sewage into clean water (OCWA-Man, too shy to be named, works with the Ontario Clean Water Agency, which operates Stratford's Wastewater Treatment Plant).Just as Superman can't withstand kryptonite, OCWA-Man can't protect us from a pair of "bad guys," namely grit and household hazardous waste.Grit - everything from sand and gravel to plastic toys and dental floss - has to be sifted at the treatment plant to prevent damage to pipes and equipment. But the treatment plant's resources can't defeat toxic chemicals at all.Stratford's storm sewers, also carrying water, debris and toxins, bypass the treatment plant completely. As the city's website says, "…all the water that flows into the rain gutters and catch basins flows directly into the Avon River."So do fertilizers, pesticides, oil, bleach, rust removers, paints and cleaners. And fish, insects, birds and plant life just don't do well on that kind of a diet. Clearly, the super-power to make things magically disappear doesn't exist.Have no fear! Other super-powers are here! Like the power to stop flushing or pouring grit down our toilets and drains, or to switch to non-toxic and biodegradable cleaners. We can also raid our stashes of chemical concoctions and take them to Stratford's landfill on the next household hazardous waste drop-off days.Check the list I've compiled for waste disposal options for common items. OCWA-Man and the wildlife in and along the river need our back-up. To the rescue!Waste WisdomSeeing skulls and crossbones or skeletal hands on containers? That's hazardous waste. Drop it off at Stratford's landfill on 777 Romeo St. S. from Monday, April 27 to Saturday, May 2. See www.city.stratford.on.ca for more info. For questions about the correct disposal of any item, call Katie Alward, Stratford's enthusiastic and knowledgeable waste reduction officer, at 519-271-0250, ext. 279.See yellow fish instead. Ask Katie about the Yellow Fish Road program. Interested individuals, school and community groups can sign up to paint bright yellow fish on manhole covers and sewer grates this spring, as a reminder that only rainwater is safe for wildlife and our waterways.The dirt on disposal optionsC = compostR = recycleHHW = household hazardous wasteG = garbagePH = return to pharmacyAerosol cans, empty - RAerosol cans, full or partially full - HHWAntifreeze - HHWBatteries (single use/car/cellphone) - HHWCar Cleaners - HHWCleaners - HHWCigarette butts - GCompact fluorescent light bulbs and tubes - HHWDental floss - GDrugs, pills, etc. - HHW or PHFertilizers - HHWFlammable liquids (barbecue starter fluids, lighter fluids, gasoline, oil) - HHWFood scraps - CHair - C or GHousehold cleaners and chemicals - HHWLiquid waxes (for furniture, cars, etc.) - HHWOil (including cooking and other oils) - HHWOil filters - HHWPaint cans, empty, or with dry and solid paint - GPaint - HHW (or donate elsewhere)Paint thinners - HHWPesticides - HHWPlastic food and drink containers (water bottles, tubs, lids, etc.) - RPlastic grocery bags - R Plastic tampon applicators - GPressurized containers (propane tanks or cylinders) - HHWSolvents - HHWSyringes, needles, etc. - HHW or PH

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