The Average Consumer and Water Contamination

When doing the dishes or washing the car, most people never see the wastewater they used ever again. But much of this wastewater is actually harmful to the environment and causes a great deal of contamination. There are also other factors that cause water contamination that are caused directly by average consumers.


Many people use fertilizers on their lawns for aesthetic value. They make lawns look fuller and greener and it is a point of pride for many homeowners. But putting fertilizer on a lawn or even a garden can be severely detrimental to water which eventually has to be filtered so heavily that it costs a great deal of energy and money to do.

The fertilizer is rained on and either soaks into the ground and contaminates ground water, or leaves the lawn by the forces of gravity and runs off into bodies of water. There is also the aspect of the ecosystems that fertilizer can poison, leaving fish and other aquatic animals dead, as well as killing plants, all of which decay in the water and rob it of oxygen, making it impossible for the contaminated water to support life anymore.

Composting can be an alternative to using fertilizers on lawns and in gardens. The bacteria in a compost pile are safe for ground water and surface bodies of water should it get washed away. Another alternative is to buy environmentally sound products and support the businesses that create fertilizers that won�t harm the aquatic ecosystems that can be affected.


Nobody likes pests in their home, and thus many people tend to go overboard and lay out pesticides in their home or on their lawn to keep bugs away. Yet pesticides put on plants and lawns outside the home can easily be detrimental to the ground and surface waters nearby. Runoff and seepage affect ground and surface water, contaminating it past use, which harms the delicate ecosystems that thrive on the fresh water. Pesticides are obviously poisonous and easily kill animals and plants alike through water. This ruins the habitat for anything else until it is cleaned up.

Responsible consumers are now looking for options other than using pesticides in order to do as little damage as possible. �Green� gardeners use old methods like sticky boards that trap pests or carnivorous plants that feed upon insects and other pests in the garden and lawn. Doing this will reduce or eliminate completely the use of harmful pesticides that can seep into water.

Improper Disposal

A major problem that stems from average consumers is the improper disposal of household chemicals into sewer drains, ditches, back yards, and other places outside where no chemicals should be dumped. Chemicals that are disposed of improperly can not only seep into ground water, but can make it into surface fresh water as runoff. It also causes problems in the sewage systems of cities because that is a completely different kind of pollution to remove than sewage.

People can easily avert this type of pollution by simply disposing of chemicals in the correct manner. Most garbage dumps provide places for people to drop off unused chemicals and chemical containers that they want to throw away. Consumers can also help by purchasing chemicals that are environmentally friendly, so even if something should happen and it is spilled into the ground or the sewer system, there would be fewer repercussions.

Responsible Consuming

Much of the water contamination that requires extra water filtration can be avoided by being a responsible consumer. Aside from disposing of chemicals properly, being responsible also involves supporting businesses that are environmentally friendly. This means choosing products that are eco-friendly or �green� and products made by manufacturers that are careful about what they pump back out into the environment.

People can also choose manufactured products from companies that observe water conservation and engage in other environmentally responsible practices. Avoiding the purchase of harsh chemicals helps as well. Of course, all chemicals, eco-friendly or not, should be disposed of properly.

Though average consumers aren�t the only ones at fault, there are many ways in which normal people can help relieve some of the contributions to water contamination. Heavy contamination means that more time, money, and energy are spent in filtering water so that it is acceptable for use. By staying away from fertilizers and pesticides, as well as being responsible, average people can help cut down on the amount of contamination that comes from normal sources.