4 Tips to Help Prevent Surface Water Contamination

Speaking plainly, “surface water” is a body of water with a visible or accessible surface. This includes ponds, lakes, rivers, wetlands, streams and oceans. Most species (including ours) depend on these resources for survival. If their integrity is diminished, we’re all in trouble.

But even though most of us understand this concept (at least in general terms), surface waters continue to be polluted, depleted, and destroyed the world over. Surface water contamination issues don’t belong on the backburner – it’s time we take a moment to examine our behaviors and ensure that we’re doing everything we can to avoid further contributing to the problem.

surface water

  1. Do not use surface waters as waste disposal sites. Waste products can cause contamination, and removing these pollutants is typically a very lengthy and expensive process. In very extreme cases, even the most dedicated remediation efforts won’t be successful, and the contaminated surface water will never again be suitable for consumption.
  2. In places where pesticides and fertilizers are commonly used (like farms), it’s important to implement conservation buffers. Conservation buffers allow for the interception and collection of potential contaminants before they reach surface water.
  3. Stormwater pollution is responsible for the degradation of countless streams and rivers. Thankfully, most homeowners can play a role in its prevention.
    • Look for organic and/or non-toxic alternatives to garden and lawn chemicals.
    • To help prevent stormwater reaching surface waters, invest in a cistern or rail barrel to catch roof runoff.
    • Cleaning up after your pets will keep harmful bacteria from washing into surface waters.
    • Monitor your septic system and verify that is functioning properly.
  4. Whenever possible, carpool, walk, or ride a bike. Though the kind of pollution caused by cars doesn’t seem like something that would be associated with surface water contamination, the facts tell us otherwise. Cadmium, for example, is released with car exhaust, spreads with the wind, and settles on surface water as a dust.

Due to a booming population and generally heightened standards of living, the global demand for fresh water is only intensifying. Increasing pollution, on the other hand, is making it impossible to keep up with the demand. Perhaps each of us doing our part won’t solve the problem, but it could make a difference – and where something as valuable as water is concerned, making a difference is a big deal.

For information regarding the remediation of surface waters, give us a call at (888) 995-2143, or click here to request a quote via email.


Photo Credit: Global Water Partnership 


  • Jessica

    I think you could have more tips and be more specific. That would help people out. Even students that have a project on this topic