Summer time

Summer is here. If you’re looking for ways to keep pollution prevention in mind while you’re outdoors and doing your summer activities, here are some tips: 

Lawn care 

Help protect the Chesapeake Bay while caring for your lawn by reducing the amount of fertilizers and preventing soil erosion. 

Follow the instructions to ensure you are not overusing fertilizers. Use non-phosphorous fertilizer. Do not apply fertilizers right before it rains. This contaminates stormwater and doesn’t give the plants the fertilizer’s nutrients. 

Cover bare areas around your building. Bare soil contributes to soil erosion. Prevent erosion by reseeding, placing mulch on, or planting vegetation on bare areas. 

Car washing, maintenance 

Soaps, detergents, oils, and hydraulic fluids are toxic to aquatic life so special care should be taken when dealing with these common pollutants to protect our waterways. 

The carwash on Gorgas Road is the best option for washing personal vehicles. Water from the carwash goes into an oil/water separator and then to a sanitary sewer, so the water gets treated before entering our local waters. If the carwash is not possible, wash your car in an area that drains to a pervious surface (gravel and grassy areas). If your wash area is paved and slopes towards an inlet, roll up a few towels to divert runoff to a lawn. 

The Kawamura Autoskills Center provides the space, supplies, and even advice at a reasonable price, for maintaining your car. Change your oil by using drip pans and funnels to prevent spills. If you’re home, put cardboard or newspaper underneath the vehicle to catch drops of oil or other vehicle fluids, while doing maintenance. Recycle used oil. Do not pour it into the ground or down a storm drain. Inspect your car frequently for leaks and repair them as soon as possible. 

Construction activities 

Construction is the biggest cause of soil erosion and water contamination. Disturbed, bare soil is more susceptible to being swept away by stormwater and can carry pollutants to our streams. Chemicals, metals, nitrogen, phosphorous, fertilizers and pesticides can all bind to sediment. 

If you see large amounts of sediment tracking from construction sites on post or discharging directly into local water bodies, call the Fort Belvoir Environmental Division at 703-806-3406, or e-mail us at usarmy. belvoir.imcom-atlantic.mbx.dpw-enrd-stormwater@mail.mil

Pet walking 

Pet waste causes bacteria in our waters, because stormwater will carry it into our streams. 

While going on walks with your pets, bring a bag to scoop up your pet’s waste and deposit it into a trash can. Reuse plastic shopping bags or buy biodegradable bags at a pet store to bring on your walks. Belvoir also has pet waste stations set up on the installation. 

Hiking/picnicking 

Practice “Leave No Trace.” Everything you bring into a park or trail, take home with you. This includes the charcoal, leftover food and trash. Food peelings and leftovers are biodegradable, but they attract unwanted animals and critters to trails and picnic areas. Make sure to dispose of these items into trash. Plastics and papers should be recycled. 

Visit us on Facebook by searching Fort Belvoir Environmental Division for more information.