If you drive a car or use a boat, you have an important role to play in the protection of our waterways.
Vehicle maintenance is an important and easy way to prevent oil, heavy metals, and other toxic chemicals from reaching the Bay. After oil has leaked from a car onto a driveway, rainwater washes it into the street, toward the nearest storm drain and ultimately into the Bay. It is estimated that 180 million gallons of oil are disposed of improperly each year. A single quart of oil can contaminate 250,000 gallons of water.
Likewise, carpooling or using public transportation also reduces water pollution. The exhaust from cars contributes to air pollution, which is captured in rain and returned to the watershed. The less we drive, the fewer air pollutants make their way to our waterways.
Boaters play an important role in protecting water quality. The way you maintain and use your boat has a great effect on the Bay.
- Carpool, bike or take public transportation.
- Wash your car on grass or gravel to reduce the amount of contaminated water flowing into the street or storm drains. Use biodegradable cleaners, which are free of phosphates.
- Spread the word in your community and lead a storm drain stenciling program to label each drain with the message, "Don't Dump! Chesapeake Bay Drainage."
- Conduct any maintenance work, including fluid changes, indoors. Soak up leaks or spills with absorbent material.
- Put oil absorbent materials in heavy plastic bags before disposing.
- Immediately repair any fluid leaks from your car or boat.
- Take used fluids (including oil, antifreeze, and solvents) to the proper disposal or recycling center. Remember, they are hazardous waste!
- Fill a boat's gas tank only to 90% capacity to avoid spills.
- Obey boat speed limits and move slowly through shallow areas to avoid eroding the shoreline with wakes..
- Never discharge raw sewage into Maryland waters; use restrooms on shore; pump out and rinse tanks frequently; Avoid holding tank products that contain quarternary ammonium compounds (QAC) and formaldehyde.