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Tricking ourselves into treating our environment with respect

By Lisa Zawaski, Senior Water Quality Engineer, city of Dana Point and Linda Homscheid, Communications Officer, South Coast Water District

Are you an environmental zombie or a Good Witch of the West? Please do not be afraid to try some of these tips to protect our beaches and ocean and set an example. Some of us may have to trick ourselves into new habits but following the tips below will help us treat our beautiful beach community with respect.

Brooms aren’t just for witches.

Remember, hosing down your driveway or sidewalk wastes water and is prohibited for water quality protection. Pesticide residue is often introduced this way into our waterways. So, use that broom and sweep it up.

What’s scarier than sewage backing up?

Many of us don’t think about our sewer lines until they back-up and create a mess. Talk to a licensed plumber about inspecting‚ assessing, cleaning and repairing your private sewer line that connects your home to the public sewer system. Please remember to call the South Coast Water District at 949.499.4555 before you clean your sewer line. The water district will happily send a crew the day of cleaning to remove any roots or debris that may be pushed into the public sewer system to avoid blockages and sewer overflows.

Beware of the bag monster.

Remember to carry your reusable shopping bags when purchasing goods. In the spirit of water quality protection and sustainability, the city of Dana Point passed an ordinance prohibiting the distribution of single-use plastic bags at retail stores. Please refer to for more information.

Properly dispose of spooky hazardous waste.

Many common household products require special disposal and cannot be thrown in the regular trash. These items are termed, “household hazardous waste” and include, but are not limited to, cleaning products, paints, batteries, appliances, fluorescent tubes, garden and pool chemicals and vehicle fluids. The closest hazardous waste facility is the Prima Deschecha landfill in San Juan Capistrano on La Pata Avenue. Disposal is free. Hours of operation are Tuesday through Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The landfill is closed on holidays and rainy days. See for more information.

Prevent the witches’ brew of toxic runoff.

  • Water from sprinklers can carry ghoulish garden chemicals and whatever else it meets to the streets and storm drains, where it flows to our beaches and pollutes the water. To prevent over-watering and runoff, take control of your sprinkler controller by creating a customized watering schedule at
  • Always pick up after your pet werewolf (or any other pet, for that matter). Leaving domestic animal droppings on public property is illegal, a nuisance and contributes to bacteria pollution at our beaches.
  • Avoid washing your Batmobile (or any other vehicle or equipment) in your driveway, where wash water drains to the street, resulting in beach pollution. Take your wheels to a commercial carwash that recycles the wash water or use a mobile detailer who contains it.

Learn the benefits of creepy crawlies.

Those wiggling worms won’t seem so creepy when you see how they can make home composting fast and easy for you. Composting is the best thing you can do with your Jack-o-Lantern waste, too. Check the city’s community news or call 949.248.3571 about the 2014 free composting workshops now scheduled for April 26, May 17, June 14 and September 6.

Remember, green is the new black. Happy HallowGreen.

This column is a cooperative effort of the city of Dana Point and South Coast Water District to cultivate conscious living to protect and preserve our coastal neighborhoods and resources. If you have any suggestions for topics, please feel free to direct questions to or

In an effort to provide our readers with a wide variety of opinions from our community, the DP Times provides Guest Opinion opportunities in which selected columnists’ opinions are shared. The opinions expressed in these columns are entirely those of the columnist alone and do not reflect those of the DP Times or Picket Fence Media. If you would like to respond to this column, please email us at

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About The Author Dana Point Times

comments (1)

  • I need to respond to a particular point in The Water Column (although every suggestion is right on). I am passionate about the problem with dog owners not picking up after their dogs! Thank you for pointing out that it’s not just a nuisance , un-neighborly, irresponsible, rude and a bad example to our children, (not to mention illegal) it’s also bad for our beaches & ocean!

    I live in a very nice neighborhood with a park and I am afraid to walk on the grass without watching where I step, especially around the perimeter. On Josiah where their are no houses facing the street, more people must think its is their right not to pick up after their pets here, because it’s really bad.

    Look people, it’s not hard to be responsible, the city even helps by having FREE bags at the park and they are never empty. Also you can get a small doggy bag holder that stays on your leash so you are always prepared. OR, don’t own a dog (unless you rescued) if you can’t respect our environment!

    Let’s all be part of the solution not the problem! Thank you. 🙂

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