Skip to Content
Menu

Stormwater & COVID-19

Over the past few months, safety has been on everyone's mind. In response to the coronavirus pandemic, we've seen the mass adoption of masks, gloves, and sanitizer on a scale no one could have thought possible. However, even as we're keeping ourselves safe from harm, it's important to keep the environment safe as well. While disposable personal protective equipment (PPE) protects us from disease, discarded PPE often finds its way right into our lakes, rivers, and other natural environments.

Here’s what you can do to help:

Gloves and Masks

Gloves and masks are the most common ways to protect yourself and others from the virus, but unfortunately the most common pollutants as well. Whether you’re filling up your tank, picking up takeout, or just out for a walk, make sure you properly dispose of both of these articles into a trash receptacle after you’re done using them. This way, discarded PPE doesn’t make its way into rivers and streams, where it can pollute local water supplies and harm plants and animals.

Gloves and mask
Sanitizer

Sanitizer

As an antibacterial product, hand sanitizer is among the more dangerous products entering our waterways. However, unlike gloves and masks, hand sanitizer bottles are safely reusable and don’t have to be tossed after a single use. When you finish a smaller travel bottle, consider refilling it for continued use. If you empty a larger bottle, make sure to rinse it out for recycling or proper disposal into a trash can. If for any reason you need to dispose of a partially-full container, make sure you follow safe disposal guidelines, as with any other hazardous household chemical.

Wipes

Contrary to popular belief, nearly all wipes are unsafe to flush down the toilet– even if the labeling indicates otherwise. The evidence is as simple as the countless “flushable” wipes clogging up our sewer systems! Because of this danger, the EPA encourages us to only flush toilet paper down the drain. This way, we can keep our sewer systems free of blockages and our sewer workers safe from potentially-dangerous conditions.

Wipes

Looking for other ways to help out?

Check out our resources page here for more ways you can help prevent stormwater pollution, both this summer and throughout the rest of the year.

Stay safe out there!