Imagine for a second that we had no regulations on the quality of water. You couldn’t enjoy a cold glass of water without wondering if the refreshing sip would make you sick. Despite various regulations and advancements to decrease water pollution, it is still a serious issue today.
While many people believe there is one point of origin, water contamination is a byproduct of time and activities. Power companies, waste water utilities, runoff, and agricultural activities are just some of the causes. In 2000, the Environmental Protection Agency identified that agricultural activity is the root cause of 48 percent of stream and river pollution.
To help prevent high levels of water contamination, farmers and other environmental agencies are using conservation practices to counter the environmental impacts. The Electric Power Research Institute is working in conjunction with power companies, wastewater utilities, farmers, and state /federal agencies to develop an interstate water quality trading framework in the Ohio River Basin.
The program hopes to achieve water quality goals and provide farmers the opportunity to work within their communities to implement water conservation, improve water quality and protect valuable farmland soils. This cost effective plan will include the partnership of Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. This is the first time that several states have joined forces to develop a trading program where all states operate under the same rules and a water quality credit generated in one state can be applied to another.
An important aspect of this plan is communicating with the people it will affect. Research shows that similar programs failed because they didn’t engage farmers early in the design. To ensure the success of the Water Quality Trading program, the Environmental Protection Agency has already collaborated with more than 230 farmers and conservation professionals.
The Water Quality Trading program is a huge project. In its completion, the project has the potential to reach eight states, 46 power plants, thousands of wastewater utilities and nearly 230,000 farmers. However, there are steps that you can take today to prevent water contamination in your area.
- Use pesticides carefully: Minimize risks to water by carefully planning the application of pesticides, considering weather, drain flow, soil conditions and field situations.
- Manage soil correctly: By keeping your soil well managed, you reduce the risk of pesticide/phosphate loss resulting in water contamination.
- Maintain your irrigation systems: Applying excess water to your fields will require more fertilizer than necessary. Make sure your irrigation system is dispersing consistent, uniform coverage.
- Soil testing: Periodically test your soil to ensure you are using the right amount of fertilizer. Taking samples from several areas and combining them to form one sample will give you an complete analysis.
What steps do you take to prevent water contamination?
This post was written by Katie Hozan, an intern working in our Claims Department. Katie is a senior majoring in communications and public relations at Ohio Northern University.