Most of us blame water pollution and its effects on large industries, municipal treatment plants, and corporations. In reality, we're all responsible. In nearly all parts of the country much and sometimes most of the pollution comes from many other sources referred to as non-point source, or runoff pollution. The next time it rains in your neighborhood, watch as it runs off your roof, street, and parking lots. You can see it pick up oil, grease, litter, soil, and other materials. Eventually this runoff carries them to the nearest body of water, where these pollutants can kill fish, shellfish, wildlife, or plants, and degrade water quality. Think of your streets, sidewalks, and other paved areas as pipelines to surface waters. Whatever drips, spills, pours, or falls onto these surfaces will find its way to nearby waterways. So keep pollutants out of the "pipeline" to prevent them from contaminating our waters. To help minimize runoff pollution, here are some helpful hints: Sweep driveways and patios clean instead of hosing them down. Never dump used motor oil, paint or household chemicals on the ground or in a storm drain. One quart of oil, can form a 2 acre oil slick if spilled into the environment. Don't overuse fertilizers and pesticides. Home gardeners use on average more pesticides per square foot in their gardens, than farmers do in their fields. When fertilizing your lawn, never directly deposit, or inadvertently apply fertilizer materials directly onto hard surfaces, where they can runoff. Keep leaves, grass clippings, animal waste, dirt and litter out of storm drains, ditches, creeks, ponds, and wetlands. Place groundcover and shrubs on bare earth to prevent erosion. Native plants are recommended.