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Home Owners

​How to do a Site Assessment

Our actions around the home may affect the quality of the water for our watershed and all connecting bodies of water. Individual homeowners have the ability to assess their own sites by identifying possible problem areas. One must consider soil type and the direction of the storm water flow. These factors will affect what filters into the ground, or flows into a stream.

  • Determine your soil type - with this information, one can determine how susceptible it is to contamination. Some soil types quickly filter substances, while others deter infiltration.
  • Clay - small particles, closely packed, least susceptible to infiltration of contaminants.
  • Silt/Loam - medium sized particles.
  • Sand/Gravel - large sized particles, large spaces between particles, most susceptible to infiltration of contaminants.
  • Still unclear? If you wet a small area and rub the soil between you fingers…
  • Clay - will feel sticky.
  • Silt/Loam - between sticky and gritty.
  • Sand/Gravel - gritty and crumbly.

​Burning Trash

Burning your trash is not a recommended activity. Whether you burn trash in a barrel or in an incinerator, the emissions are likely to be emitted directly into the air because of their low combustion efficiency. These emissions cause air pollution, which affect our watershed through rain. Commonly emissions are particulates, acid gases, heavy metal vapors, carbon monoxide, dioxins and other toxins, some that are even carcinogenic (cancer causing).

What can you do?

Most communities are required to provide access to solid waste management facilities for their residents. Some municipalities provide curbside pickup, and most have transfer stations and recycling facilities. Call your local facility for assistance. Leaves can be used as compost and materials such as plastics, glass, newspapers, aluminum, motor oil, even batteries can be recycled!!!!!!!

Home*A*Syst - What is it?

Home*A*Syst is a comprehensive self-assessment program for residents of urban and suburban areas interested in their own health and the environment. Home*A*Syst offers helpful hints, big and small, to assist residents in managing their home by reducing or eliminating environmental risks. If assistance is not provided for all areas, this will give you information on how to locate the desired info.

For information related to the following, visit the Home*A*Syst website.

  1. Managing Hazardous Products
  2. Liquid Fuels
  3. Managing Household Waste
  4. Storm-water Management
  5. Drinking Water Well Management
  6. Household Water
  7. Lead, in and around the Home
  8. Indoor Air Quality
  9. Heating and Cooling Systems

How to begin?

  1. Identify environmental risks. Look at key areas of your property that may possibly cause environmental damage.
  2. Learn home and property management practices
  3. Take preventive measures

Want to learn more? Then check out the Home *A*Syst website.

  • Snow removal
  • Burning trash


Everyone wants a beautiful lawn. However, the pesticides, exotic plants and irrigation can be environmentally detrimental to your watershed. This doesn't mean that your lawn can't still look great. The key is to care for your lawn by utilizing resources efficiently and planting local species to carry out the process in harmony with the natural environment. Some things to consider are erosion prevention, the preservation and utilization of native species (fauna and flora included), alternatives to pest management, and the improvement of soil and efficient use of irrigation.

What Can you do:

  • Leave grass clippings on the lawn: Many times they provide enough natural fertilizer to keep your lawn green.
  • Sweep grass clippings off the driveway and sidewalk.
  • Mow the lawn at a proper height: Mowing too short invites weeds.
  • Use an electric mower: A two-cycle gas mower used for one hour, emits the same amount of exhaust as a car driven 350 mile.
  • Use fertilizer correctly: Ask your local gardening store, neighbors or Cooperative Extension Office for assistant on how to test your soil.
  • Your lawn may not need fertilizer at all, or if it does, it may only need a small amount. 
  • If too much fertilizer is used or if it is used at the wrong time, it may cause an insect or disease problems.
  • Homeowners apply more chemicals to their lawns than farmers do while farmers are regulated and homeowners are not.
  • Make sure fertilizer is not applied 24 hours before a rain.

For more information check out this web page for environmentally friendly landscaping ideas.

​Snow Removal

Removing snow in the winter can have adverse affects if done so improperly. The following are examples…

Displacing- Snow can hold trash, sediments, valuable nutrients, or pollutants such as antifreeze, oil, or metals from automobiles. Then when the snow melts, the nutrients or pollutants that were carried from it will be displaced. Also plowed snow, if not carefully placed, may cause flooding or the altering of a streams natural path.

Blading- Plowing snow may additionally skim the top layer of the soil if the plow blade is lower than the ground surface level. Uplifting the top layer of soil may damage the vegetation below or cause instability in soil conditions. Storage or plowing on bare soil, such as a dirt road may cause low permeability through compacted soil.

What can you do?

  • You know your land the best. It is up to you to consider its health. By creating an environmentally friendly snow removal plan, you can ensure its health.
  • Tools - you can use markers to direct the snow plowing service away from unstable surfaces, mounds of soil, or planters. Correspondence with you plowing service provider will be helpful. Determine a location on your property that can hold this snow. If none can be found on your property, hauling may be a possibility.

Where to Recycle OIL

  • Advance Auto Parts
    509 W. 4th St.
    Lewistown, PA 17044
  • Lake Chevrolet, Olds, Geo, Saab
    433 South Main Street
    Lewistown PA 17044
    (717) 248-7848
  • Lake Ford, Lincoln, Mercury
    371 South Main Street
    Lewistown PA 17044
    (717) 248-0151
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