Simple Ways You Can Help Clean the Creek

Pick up the TRASH!

Wash your car at the car wash, or with biodegradable soap. Don't keep the hose running between rinses

Dispose of oils, gasoline, paints and batteries at the local recycling center.
Santa Monica City Recycling Center 2500 Michigan Ave.
1 gallon of paint or motor oil can pollute 250,000 gallons of water
1 gallon of gasoline can pollute 750,000 gallons of water

Collect roof run off and rainwater in storage tanks to use for summer irrigation and on-site fire protection.
Collection systems can be really simple, like a covered trash can (keep those mosquitoes out!) to more complex cisterns.

Compost manures and corralled animal wastes.
RCDSMM manual available with ideas.

Cover trash cans so animals can t spread trash all over and into the creek.

Irrigate your landscape thoughtfully. Watch those automatic systems that create runoff, spray at mid day, or come on during the rain!

Limit use of herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers that can runoff your landscape and into the creek. They are usually not target specific. Be sure to read directions carefully and pay attention to dilutions.

Conserve water. 85% of the water you use has traveled over 300 miles to get here!

Graywater Systems can help reduce the amount of water handled by the septic system, but can also pose health risks unless they drain into the ground. No direct outflows!

Think before you Pour!

In Topanga, what goes down the drain  or down the road/hill eventually turns up in the creek and then at Topanga Beach!

Care and Feeding of Your Septic System
Topanga Watershed Committee Meeting, April 1999

Limit amount of water entering the system simultaneously! Don t overload!

Fix leaks. A leaky toilet can add 2000 gallons to your system in a day!

Keep all toxic chemicals out of the system. They destroy the bacteria that keep a system working and can leach into the environment causing further damage.

Limit amount of non-organic material entering the system. If you didn t eat it, then think twice before putting it into the system!

Use non-toxic soaps and cleaners. Forget about bleach unless very dilute! It kills all the friendly bacteria that make your system work.

Compost your veggie waste instead of grinding in garbage disposal. Meat, cheese and all fat leftovers should go to the trash.

Pour cooking oils and grease into old cans for proper disposal in the trash.

Keep hair and disposable diapers out of the system!

Install a low flow toilet.

Use toilet paper sparingly. Non-bleached are most friendly.

Septic enzymes are not a good idea. They stimulate a short burst of bacterial activity, cause a bloom and dieback of the critters, which then creates more suspended solids that go into your drainfield and clog up the works. Your gut provides sufficient bacteria to keep your system working.

Add a low maintenance filter to the outlet of the tank. For several hundred dollars you can extend the life of your drainfield for a long time.

Pump out the tank every 6-8 years. Pump when the scum and sludge layers get too thick. Research has shown that it takes 3-5 years for a happy colony of methane decomposing bacteria to get established, and they are the most efficient decomposers.

Be sure that nothing from the septic system daylights  or flows directly out on the ground. If it does, you are polluting and need to fix it quick!

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