HERE IN RENO WE ARE FORTUNATE TO HAVE CLEAN, tasty drinking
water. But what happens to the water we use, and how does our daily
routine at home and work affect the environment?
Our purchases and our actions directly impact water quality in
the Truckee River and Pyramid Lake. First, rain and snow create
urban runoff that carries with it oil and gas from our cars, fertilizer
and weed killers from our lawns, and trash from our streets. These
contaminants and solids go directly into the river by way of gutters
and storm drains.
Second, the water we flush through our pipes carries with it thousands
of different chemicals and gets re-deposited into the river after
it goes through the Truckee Meadows Water Reclamation Facility for
treatment. Most of these chemicals are removed during treatment,
but the presence of organic compounds, salts, and pharmaceuticals
poses a difficult challenge for plant operators as well as for fish
HAVE YOU EVER WONDERED ABOUT THE STUFF THAT ENDS UP IN OUR
HERE IS A PARTIAL LIST
- Soap, shampoo, and lotion
- Sunscreen and insect repellant
- Detergents, cleaning agents, and bleach
- Hairspray, make-up, and perfumes
- Toothpaste and mouthwash
- Food and grease
- Toilet paper, tampons, and condoms
- Rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide
- Medicine and vitamins
- Pain killers, aspirin, ibuprofen
- Antibiotics, hormones, and other prescription drugs
- Paint and paint thinner
- Oil and gasoline
- Heavy metals and industrial waste
- Toxic pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides
The quantity and complexity of these solids and chemical compounds
puts a heavy burden on the treatment facility and affects water
quality downstream. The treatment plant can handle most of the debris,
but the collective chemical stew requires advanced treatment. Water
received at the facility goes through multiple processes
physical, biological, and chemical before it is returned
to the Truckee River at its discharge point in Sparks. The water
looks different after treatment because it has been sanitized and
because its chemical makeup has been altered. In the end, water
from the plant is not deemed potable.
MAKE A DIFFERENCE
- Choose products without phosphates, dyes, fragrance, or toxic
chemicals. If the box has warnings about skin contact, eye contact,
or inhalation, then you can bet it is not safe for pets or wildlife.
- Use less water for household chores.
- Just say no to insecticides and weed killer. Do
the manual labor instead and watch as the birds, bees, ladybugs, and
butterflies return to your yard.
- Sweep your porch instead of rinsing it off.
- Skip the garbage disposal. Scrape uneaten food into the trash
- Try using a minimum amount of soap, shampoo, and detergent.
- Never pour unused products such as paint, anti-freeze, bleach,
solvents, or poisons down the drain. Instead, dispose of these items
properly. Call RenoDirect at 334-2099 to ask about Reno Clean and