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Simple Steps to Prevent Water Pollution

Updated on April 21, 2016

Preventing Water Pollution Begins At Home

Preventing pollution of our waterways is everyone's responsibility. Our oceans, lakes, rivers and streams are suffering from industrial waste and unhealthy farming methods.

"But," you say, "I don't contribute to industrial waste and I don't farm. Why is this my problem?"

On this page I'll show why it's everyone's problem and suggest ways that everyone, no matter where they live, can help save our natural waterways.

This photo is used with permission through Creative Commons.  It's by Flickr photographer Steven.Buss.

How Much Water Are We Using? - Source: United States EPA

These examples of the amount of water we use for our various daily needs are astounding if you think of them in terms of a gallon of milk.

The average American uses 140 to 150 gallons of water per day!

  • To flush a toilet - 5 to 7 gallons
  • To run a dishwasher - 15 to 25 gallons
  • To wash dishes by hand - 20 gallons
  • To water a small lawn - 35 gallons
  • To take a shower - 25 to 50 gallons
  • To take a bath - 50 gallons
  • To wash a small load of clothes in a washing machine - 35 gallons
  • To brush teeth with the water running continuously - 2 to 5 gallons

Junk Art from river pollution
Junk Art from river pollution

Not So Beautiful Art...

...from polluted rivers in Minnesota

This is a sculpture that was created using junk collected from rivers in Minnesota in 2009. I think it's an amazing illustration of the amount of junk we throw away.

Can you believe that all of this was collected from Minnesota Rivers? Astonishing! Artists from around the area volunteer their time to create these pieces for the Save Our Rivers organization.

Beauty From Recycled Materials - Makes sense to me...

Broken glass is one of the most washed up items on our beaches. If you're going to buy jewelry or home décor, anyway, why not find something beautiful that's been created from recycled glass? You'll feel really good about yourself. I promise.

This cool photo is courtesy of Flickr photographer Mark Kimple, through Creative Commons.

Many thanks.

Amazing Creations Using Recycled Glass

There are so many artists working with recycled products and the popularity of these beautiful creations is growing by leaps and bounds!

Here's one example:

Beautiful Jewelry Creations from Recycled Glass

Here's just one example of the way an artist with a love of the environment creates beauty from recycled materials.

Simple Things You Can You Do If You Live In A City? - You can help, even if you are an apartment dweller.

Here are a few important things you can do to help save our natural waterways, even if you don't own or live in a home with a yard or garden.

  1. Never dump anything into city street drains.
  2. Check your vehicle for any leaks that could pollute waterways when flushed down city drains.
  3. Recycle your motor oil.
  4. Pick up after your pets.
  5. Wash your vehicle at a car wash, not in your driveway.
  6. Consider planting a Rain Garden. They can be any size you like - small or large - and they help stop pollution from stormwater runoff. Check them out!
  7. Be sure to use cleaning products that are certified biodegradable. Read the labels and don't use anything that has chlorine or ammonia in it (or any ingredient that starts with chlor).

    All those ingredients get washed down the drain and guess where they end up? Yup - rivers, lakes, streams, oceans...not good.

Simple Steps To Take Around The House - Low Cost, Big Impact!

These ideas are easy to do and inexpensive but they will help tremendously toward a cleaner and safer water supply for everyone.

Please try these suggestions and encourage your friends and family to, as well.

  • Replace shower heads with water-saving models.
  • Don't let water run while you are washing or brushing your teeth and you'll save up to five gallons of water.
  • Only run your dishwashing and washing machine with full loads. Try using the quick cycle on your dishwasher.
  • If you can't replace your toilet with a low-flow model (the best idea but more expensive), place a water-filled plastic bottle in your toilet tank. It will displace the water in the tank, thereby using less water per flush.
  • Invest in a water filtration system instead of buying bottled drinking water. I use the Pur brand but I've had Brita, as well. Both are inexpensive and work well.

Learn More - Great Reading - Books all about water pollution

These books are excellent sources for learning the sometimes nasty truths about water pollution.

Water Pollution - An Inheritance For Our Children

Wouldn't you agree that it's our obligation to keep our natural waterways clear and pollution free for future generations?

So that their connection with pure water isn't just through art.

Still More Simple Tips

These tips are really just new habits that we all should form. Easy, inexpensive, but the impact will be felt for generations.

  1. Use a sink strainer to keep food scraps from going down the sink drain.
  2. Put cooking fats and oils in the trash, not down the drain.
  3. Use biodegradable and phosphate free cleaners or try natural cleaners like vinegar, bicarbonate of soda and lemon instead. There are many recipes for cleaners using these natural products. They're much less expensive, as well.
  4. Help clean up litter when you see it on the beaches or in parks and other public places.
  5. Recycle the oil from your vehicles. Many car repair businesses will accept your used oil for recycling.
  6. Don't dump unwanted prescriptions down the toilet or the drain. Most pharmacies will accept your unwanted medicines.

Reusable Water Bottles - Eco-friendly water bottles, that is...

Plastic water bottles are a huge source of pollution. Even though many plastics are recycle friendly, most of them are simply thrown away.

Eco-friendly water bottles. Once you get used to using them you'll wonder what took you so long! Besides, most bottled water is no better than the water from your kitchen faucet. That's a fact!

Be sure to check whether or not your reusable plastic water bottle is BPA free. BPA is Bisphenol A is a substance used in making plastics and there is great concern that it can harm a fetuses, infants, and young children. Most responsible companies will put a label on their bottles declaring that they are BPA free.

Water Conservation Websites - Easy to read - Useful Ideas

These sites are filled with helpful and painless ways of dealing with water pollution in our everyday lives. Bookmark them for future reference.

Although this is a very serious subject, I hope you enjoyed the lens. Very likely you are already using many of these suggestions

Maybe you've learned something new. If so, would you mind scrolling back up to the top and clicking on the "like" button? Thanks much!!

Thanks for stopping by... - Please leave your calling card.

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    • CherylK profile image
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      Cheryl Kohan 4 years ago from Minnesota

      @Wendy L Henderson: Thank you, Wendy. Much appreciated.

    • CherylK profile image
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      Cheryl Kohan 4 years ago from Minnesota

      @Elyn MacInnis: That is so true! Thanks for stopping by!

    • CherylK profile image
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      Cheryl Kohan 4 years ago from Minnesota

      @EcoLogik: Thank you!

    • CherylK profile image
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      Cheryl Kohan 4 years ago from Minnesota

      @melissiaoliver: So glad you enjoyed this! It's really important to learn all of the ways we impact our earth so thanks for the great support.

    • CherylK profile image
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      Cheryl Kohan 4 years ago from Minnesota

      @getmoreinfo: Thanks so much for the visit. I'm encouraged by the positive comments I'm receiving...it shows me that people ARE joining the movement!

    • profile image

      getmoreinfo 5 years ago

      I think this is a really important issue that needs to be addressed, I can only hope more people will join the movement to help the world produce clean water sources.

    • melissiaoliver profile image

      melissiaoliver 5 years ago

      This is a really interesting lens, thanks for creating it! I always wonder when we throw things away how much of it will end up in the sea or in rivers anyway... who knows what local authorities and the government really do? How much of our rubbish ends up in landfills, and how much of it ends up in the sea?

    • EcoLogik profile image

      EcoLogik 5 years ago

      Useful information on how to protect water sources. Good lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @CherylK: thankyou i learned

    • Elyn MacInnis profile image

      Elyn MacInnis 5 years ago from Shanghai, China

      Anything anyone can do will help a little. And if everyone does a little, it's a lot.

    • profile image

      simpsonia 5 years ago

      Great lens with wonderful images.

    • Wendy L Henderson profile image

      Wendy Henderson 5 years ago from PA

      Great Information. Thanks for sharing.

    • CherylK profile image
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      Cheryl Kohan 5 years ago from Minnesota

      @TTMall: You are welcome! If you learned something new then I'm a happy camper!

    • CherylK profile image
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      Cheryl Kohan 5 years ago from Minnesota

      @dahlia369: Indeed it does. And thank you!

    • CherylK profile image
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      Cheryl Kohan 5 years ago from Minnesota

      @Namymartyn: Thank you very much!

    • TTMall profile image

      TTMall 5 years ago

      Thank you for such an informative lens.

    • dahlia369 profile image

      dahlia369 5 years ago

      Keeping our environment clean benefits us all. Nice lens! :)

    • profile image

      Namymartyn 5 years ago

      nice lens created by you really appreciable..........

    • CherylK profile image
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      Cheryl Kohan 5 years ago from Minnesota

      @WoodlandBard: You are very welcome, John. I truly appreciate your visit and your lovely comment. As I have said many times, every little thing we can do helps.

    • WoodlandBard profile image

      WoodlandBard 5 years ago

      What a stunning compendium of references on one of the most vital subjects we new to know more about and learn how to take personal action and change habits. Thank you :-)

    • CherylK profile image
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      Cheryl Kohan 5 years ago from Minnesota

      @WaynesWorld LM: Isn't that just amazing? We really don't realize how much we're using. Thanks for stopping by, Mike.

    • WaynesWorld LM profile image

      WaynesWorld LM 5 years ago

      Back in 1992 my wife and I were living in a little suburb of Des Moines, Iowa called Norwalk. There was a huge flood that year and the water was off for several weeks. We learned a little bit about clean water and how taking a bath used so many gallons; my wife preferred a bath so I started dumping gallons of water we had brought from my parents house in the tub. We heated them first on the stove, then put them in the tub. 15 gallons was only 3 or 4 inches in the tub(your index finger is normally around 3 inches long).

    • CherylK profile image
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      Cheryl Kohan 5 years ago from Minnesota

      @ViJuvenate: You are absolutely right. Balance is the key. Thank you for stopping by and leaving such an excellent comment!

    • LisaDH profile image

      LisaDH 5 years ago

      You've done a great job listing easy ways to prevent water pollution, as well as conserve water. I will add one more for people who have swimming pools - put a solar cover on it. Not only will it help you heat your pool, but they help prevent evaporation, meaning you'll need to fill your pool less often.

    • CherylK profile image
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      Cheryl Kohan 5 years ago from Minnesota

      @LisaDH: Lisa, that is a brilliant suggestion! Thank you for that! I'll add it to one of the lists. I have a sister with a swimming pool...I'm going to suggest this to her.

    • ViJuvenate profile image

      ViJuvenate 5 years ago

      It is a serious subject. While man was put in dominion over the earth, the main focus of that was to subdue it AND to care for it at the same time. Leaning in either direction over the other is out of balance. We should be able to utilize what we've been given, while preserving and caring for it. A great lens!

    • CherylK profile image
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      Cheryl Kohan 5 years ago from Minnesota

      @kathysart: Thank you so much. I'm very grateful for your blessing.

    • CherylK profile image
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      Cheryl Kohan 5 years ago from Minnesota

      @kathysart: You are very welcome Kathy...I really believe that people will do the right thing if they're just reminded what it is, once in a while. I need reminding, myself, from time to time. Thank you for the visit and nice comment.

    • CherylK profile image
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      Cheryl Kohan 5 years ago from Minnesota

      @anonymous: A million thanks for stopping by and leaving that amazing non polluting, environmentally friendly angel dust!! You've made my day!

    • kathysart profile image

      kathysart 5 years ago

      Angel blessed.

    • kathysart profile image

      kathysart 5 years ago

      Water pollution is just sooo heartbreaking. Thank you for this very important lens and reminding people of it.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Its been a while since I was here and I wasn't an angel at the time, returning with totally non polluting angel dust that is completely environmentally friendly. I looked back in the guest book and see you got that well deserved purple start soon after I was here in 2010...April 8th, the star started shining here!

    • CherylK profile image
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      Cheryl Kohan 5 years ago from Minnesota

      @julieannbrady: Omigosh!!! That is SO totally pollution! Maybe they don't realize it...how about giving them a link to this page?

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 5 years ago

      Such an important message ... say, I have a next door neighbor who has been washing their paint in the street storm drain ... along with pouring pans of grease down there ... isn't that like pollution?

    • CherylK profile image
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      Cheryl Kohan 5 years ago from Minnesota

      @mistyblue75605 lm: Isn't it, though? Each little thing we can do helps. Thanks for stopping by!

    • mistyblue75605 lm profile image

      mistyblue75605 lm 5 years ago

      Thanks for the info! :) It's nice to know that we can help in our own way!

    • CherylK profile image
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      Cheryl Kohan 5 years ago from Minnesota

      @anonymous: My pleasure...thanks for your visit and kind comment, too.

    • CherylK profile image
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      Cheryl Kohan 5 years ago from Minnesota

      @anonymous: You are so welcome...I'm happy you found these tips useful, KatieLay.

    • CherylK profile image
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      Cheryl Kohan 5 years ago from Minnesota

      @PromptWriter: Thanks! Flushing uses so much water...good tip. We did have new low flow toilets installed and that helps, too.. We love our native plants, too.

    • CherylK profile image
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      Cheryl Kohan 5 years ago from Minnesota

      @VeseliDan: I do appreciate the kind comment, VeseliDan! Thank you.

    • CherylK profile image
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      Cheryl Kohan 5 years ago from Minnesota

      @anonymous: Thank you for the visit, Animah! I am just so pleased that this article was helpful to you. Good luck with your talk...stop back and let me know how it went!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      thanks so much. I'm researching as I will be giving a talk to my daughter's Year 4 class on conserving and preserving water. I learnt a lot here that I was not aware of - for instance I've been guilty of pouring expired medicines down the drain as I wanted to reduce leachate that goes into the rubbish. I've taken some of your tips to give ideas for the kids in coming up with their commitment to ensuring a clean water world.

    • VeseliDan profile image

      VeseliDan 5 years ago

      I've read some great information on this lens!

    • PromptWriter profile image

      Moe Wood 5 years ago from Eastern Ontario

      Great tips. We only flush if it is #2 and to decrease our outdoor watering I'm using more localized plants that don't require as much water and trying to reduce our grass areas.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Honestly had no idea about some of these, thank you very much I will keep these facts in mind.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Clean water is such a precious comodity

      Thanx for sharing this valuable info and thanx for commenting on my water secrets lens

    • Amoonlighter2011 profile image

      Amoonlighter2011 5 years ago

      a rain garden, great idea

    • nekoneko profile image

      nekoneko 6 years ago

      i love it!

    • profile image

      Pooluser 6 years ago

      That was an eye opener! For one thing I thought showers used way less water than a bath. I recently fitted a dual flush system to our toilet cistern. Great lens.

    • DreamingBoomer profile image

      Karen Kay 6 years ago from Jackson, MS

      Beautiful examples and ideas for cleaning up our water supplies. Blessed by a Squid Angel!

    • tcorbs profile image

      tcorbs 6 years ago

      Wow, I am really amazed at the numbers here; American uses 140 to 150 gallons of water per day. It really makes you stop and think. Very informative lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Clean water is so vital for all living things.

      Did you know that you can bless water - since 1999 Dr. Masaru Emoto has published several volumes of a work on how words and music influence water.

      thanx for sharing

    • profile image

      herculeafitness1 6 years ago

      This is an awesome lens and yes, I have learned some new things to do to prevent water pollution. Can't wait to share some of these ideas with my ten-year-son as well.

    • profile image

      xeroncool 6 years ago

      you should choose the touch faucet that is in harmony with the style of your kitchen or your bathroom because they are important parts of your home.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Did you know that you can bless water - since 1999 Dr. Masaru Emoto has published several volumes of a work on how words and music influence water - etitled "Messages from Water", it contains photographs of water crystals next to essays and "words of intent".

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      nice i will use it in my science project

    • beckwong profile image

      beckwong 6 years ago

      It is important to prevent water pollution, but we need to be aware of air pollution and sound pollution.

      Anyway, you did a great lens! Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image

      sabinamiller 6 years ago

      Hey! very useful and great lens for people to know many things.

      --

      Bedroom Furniture

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 6 years ago from Vermont

      Great informational lens about how we can all help protect our watersheds and waterways. If every household followed the simple steps here it would make a big difference in water quality AND save money - at home and for our community, state and federal governments.

    • sukkran trichy profile image

      sukkran trichy 6 years ago from Trichy/Tamil Nadu

      great lens. thank you very much for these useful tips.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Excellent information: simple and inexpensive which make them easy for anyone to do. We need to promote these tips via TV, radio, local advertising...every avenue to reach all demographics.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      adding you to my blog roll and blessed by a squid angel.. :)

    • CherylK profile image
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      Cheryl Kohan 6 years ago from Minnesota

      @Blackspaniel1: Thanks so much for stopping by, blackspanielgallery! And thanks for the nice comment.

    • CherylK profile image
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      Cheryl Kohan 6 years ago from Minnesota

      @anonymous: I am so glad this article was useful, Jessica. Thank you for letting me know! You've made my day!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Thank you for the great tips, they really helped with my pollution project

    • Blackspaniel1 profile image

      Blackspaniel1 6 years ago

      Nice lens

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      @jackieb99: nice

    • CherylK profile image
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      Cheryl Kohan 6 years ago from Minnesota

      @joanv334: You're very welcome, Joan. It's an important subject and I'm happy that you found some useful tips! Thanks for stopping by.

    • CherylK profile image
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      Cheryl Kohan 6 years ago from Minnesota

      @glenanail: Thank you, Tommy! I truly appreciate your visit to this page and the kind comments you have left for me.

    • joanv334 profile image

      joanv334 6 years ago

      Thanks for the tips!

    • profile image

      glenanail 6 years ago

      great subject! great lens! cheer from a fellow lvl 39 squidooer

    • CherylK profile image
      Author

      Cheryl Kohan 6 years ago from Minnesota

      @jackieb99: You're welcome, Jackie. Thanks for the visit...much appreciated!

    • jackieb99 profile image

      jackieb99 6 years ago

      Thanks for the great tips!

    • CherylK profile image
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      Cheryl Kohan 6 years ago from Minnesota

      @WorldVisionary: You're very welcome! Thank you for visiting.

    • CherylK profile image
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      Cheryl Kohan 6 years ago from Minnesota

      @anonymous: I totally agree with you, Mark. If only....

    • profile image

      WorldVisionary 6 years ago

      Thanks for putting together this lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Great lens on an important topic. Now if only we could get industry out in front of us on this rather than industry trailing behind government regulations.

    • CherylK profile image
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      Cheryl Kohan 6 years ago from Minnesota

      @javr: Thanks for stopping by, javrsmith. I'm always happy to meet people who are trying to help save our planet!

    • CherylK profile image
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      Cheryl Kohan 6 years ago from Minnesota

      @artgoodman lm: Thank you! So glad you enjoyed this article!

    • CherylK profile image
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      Cheryl Kohan 6 years ago from Minnesota

      @drenina: Thanks, drenina, for the visit and I'm happy you liked this lens.

    • profile image

      drenina 6 years ago

      wow..

    • artgoodman lm profile image

      artgoodman lm 6 years ago

      Thanks for the great tips and sharing this fantastic lens.

    • javr profile image

      javr 6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Congratulations on bringing attention to the issue of water pollution. I have 2 low flush toilets and a low water use washing machine in my house.

    • CherylK profile image
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      Cheryl Kohan 6 years ago from Minnesota

      @anonymous: Thanks very much! I appreciate the positive feedback.

    • CherylK profile image
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      Cheryl Kohan 6 years ago from Minnesota

      @anonymous: You're very welcome. So glad you enjoyed this article.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      Water is such a lovely feature in the landscape I think it's so important to help prevent water pollution, good lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Nicely, Nicely! Thanks a bunch.

    • CherylK profile image
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      Cheryl Kohan 6 years ago from Minnesota

      @eccles1: Thanks so much for the visit and the feedback, Maria, and for doing your part. Each small thing that we do helps.

    • eccles1 profile image

      eccles1 6 years ago

      2.Put cooking fats and oils in the trash, not down the drain.

      this is the only one I do practice! thank you for making this lens

    • CherylK profile image
      Author

      Cheryl Kohan 6 years ago from Minnesota

      @anonymous: Thank you! So happy you enjoyed learning about the Rain Gardens. They're beautiful and so important in keeping our waterways as pure as possible.

    • CherylK profile image
      Author

      Cheryl Kohan 6 years ago from Minnesota

      @anonymous: Thank you for your visit, Serene Sea, and for the thumbs up. I'm pleased to know there are so many people who recognize the importance of clean water.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Awesome lens! I love the Rain Garden ideas!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Very valuable tips on preventing pollution in water . Water is a finite resource and should be used with care. Stagnated water is a source of breeding bacteria, hence it should not be allowed to stay in open without treating.

    • CherylK profile image
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      Cheryl Kohan 6 years ago from Minnesota

      @SciTechEditorDave: Hi Dave! Thanks for the visit and the very nice comment...much appreciated.

    • SciTechEditorDave profile image

      David Gardner 6 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area, California

      Great lens! This is a great help to prevent dihydrogen monoxide pollution in our waterways and in our drinking water. I've liked, favorited, thumbs-upped, and lensrolled your great lens. Congrats on a great job!

    • CherylK profile image
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      Cheryl Kohan 7 years ago from Minnesota

      @JanieceTobey: I really appreciate your visit, Janiece. And I'm so glad you found a useful tip or two.

    • CherylK profile image
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      Cheryl Kohan 7 years ago from Minnesota

      @callinsky lm: Thank you for the kind words, Callinsky, and thanks for the link, as well.

    • JanieceTobey profile image

      JanieceTobey 7 years ago

      Thank you for sharing this very important information about preventing water pollution! You shared a lot of great tips here!

    • callinsky lm profile image

      callinsky lm 7 years ago

      Wonderful information. I applaud you for talking about it. I lensrolled you to "The Future of Your Water."