Become a NW Indiana Clean Water Ambassador
The Indiana Department of Natural Resources Lake Michigan Coastal Program (LMCP), in collaboration with Save the Dunes and the Septic System Coordination Work Group, is recruiting Clean Water Ambassadors to represent neighborhoods with high densities of residential septic systems in Lake, Porter, and LaPorte counties.
Clean Water Ambassadors play an active role in the LMCP’s Good Neighbor: Neighborhood Ambassador Program, an education initiative intended to reduce septic-system failures and the resulting negative impacts on water quality in northwest Indiana. Clean Water Ambassadors educate homeowners with septic systems about how to properly maintain and care for their home systems, as well as encourage them to keep up with routine maintenance.
To be eligible for consideration, Clean Water Ambassadors candidates must live in a household with a septic system, maintain residency within the community they are representing, have a good relationship with neighbors and community leaders, and have an interest in the environment and/or public health. Interested individuals may apply on the Save the Dunes Clean Water Ambassador page or contact the LMCP (coastal@dnr.IN.gov).
How to Protect Lake Michigan’s Ecosystem
The most effective way to protect Lake Michigan’s ecosystem is through pollution prevention (P2). P2 involves preventing pollutants in the first place or reducing the amount of pollutants generated. Many P2 efforts require large-scale activities by state, county, and local government agencies to improve wastewater treatment plants and stop direct discharges of raw sewage into our waterways from combined and sanitary sewer overflows. Lake Michigan boaters and marina operators can reduce their impact on the environment by participating in the Indiana Clean Marina Program. Citizens also can help protect Lake Michigan’s ecosystem by taking these steps:
- Prevent Water Contamination:
- Conserve water [PDF] to reduce the volume of wastewater that must be sent via combined and sanitary sewers for treatment, in order to prevent sewer system overflows.
- Properly maintain septic systems.
- Dispose of boat sewage in onshore sanitary facilities or at pumpout stations (see the Indiana Clean Marina Guidebook’s Clean Boater Tip Sheets).
- Change children’s diapers frequently while at the beach and dispose of them in trash cans.
- Never feed shorebirds and keep food in covered containers to prevent birds and animals from eating it.
- Keep oils, solvents, and other hazardous fluids covered and away from street and storm drains, and practice other ways to reduce or stop pollution.
- Report any spills of chemicals that you see as soon as possible.
- Avoid spreading invasive species.
- Properly Manage Waste:
- Dispose of fecal waste from pets in trash cans.
- Bring old paints, cleaners, florescent lightbulbs, and other household hazardous waste to your local ToxDrop site.
- Drop off unwanted medicines at an unwanted medicine collection program.
- Don’t litter.
- Reduce waste, reuse products, and recycle used material.
- Participate in Beach Cleanup and Protection Efforts: