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Healthy Waters campaign promotes Water Quality Month

By: Jenna Nielsen, Journal Staff Writer
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August is National Water Quality Month and city officials are promoting healthy waters in Auburn. Several local businesses have taken a leading role by signing up for the Healthy Auburn Waters campaign, where businesses are being asked to reduce pollutants being poured down the sink and into storm drains, collect fats, oils and grease in containers and properly dispose of hazardous waste. Businesses that take the pledge are presented with a Public Service Award and will receive window stickers with the campaign logo. The businesses are also listed on the Healthy Auburn Waters Web site, with a link to the business’ Web page. When the program was first launched in April, less than a dozen merchants had signed up. Now the program has nearly 30 registered businesses. “The benefits of the program aren’t going to show up overnight,” said Jack Warren, city public works director. “It’s like going on a diet for the rest of your life and never going off it.” Maki Heating and Air was one of the several businesses to sign up in the past few months. “There is nothing more important than preserving our air and water,” Cheryl Maki of Maki Heating and Air said in a statement about the campaign. “Fortunately, we live in a community that cares and I am sure many of our businesses already are aware and take care of their waste in the proper way.” Tom Husak, owner of Skyridge Pharmacy, said he took the pledge because it is important to pro-tect water and be more “green” for the future. Husak also said that the pharmaceutical industry has specific guidelines for how medications should be disposed of. “It makes sense to revisit those practices and guidelines occasionally to make sure you are doing you part,” he said. Warren said that businesses that have taken the pledge for the Healthy Auburn Waters campaign realize that even a tiny amount of pesticides, chemicals or something like motor oil can have disas-trous consequences at the wastewater treatment plant. “One misstep by the public or any city business can bring in a pollutant that we cannot treat or in very extreme situations, can cripple our treatment plant,” Warren said. Residents can see a list of the businesses that have already taken the pledge as well as guidelines for proper disposal of household hazardous waste, automotive products and other chemicals in Auburn by visiting the Healthy Auburn Waters Web site at healthyauburnwaters.org. Residents can also get involved in National Water Quality Month by cleaning their cabinets and garages of unused and outdated chemicals and household hazardous waste. The Western Placer Waste Management Authority will host a household hazardous waste collection event Aug. 23 and 24 at the Gold Country Fairgrounds. Homeowners will be able to bring materials from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and businesses can drop off from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. Visit wpwma.com/events.html for guidelines. Drop-offs are accepted year-round and free of charge for Placer County residents at the Western Placer Waste Management Authority’s household hazardous waste collection facility. The collection center is open from 8 a.m to 5 p.m. every day and is located at 3033 Fiddyment Road. The Journal’s Jenna Nielsen can be reached at jennan@goldcountrymedia.com or post a comment. ---------- More information: Healthy Auburn Waters Campaign The Healthy Auburn Waters campaign is a public education program that aims to teach residents and businesses how to properly dispose of chemicals, pesticides, cooking fats, oils and grease, motor oil and fuel. The Healthy Auburn Waters campaign seeks to protect Auburn waterways and reduce the costs to upgrade the Auburn Wastewater Treatment Plant. For more information, visit healthyauburn-waters.org. More information: Take the pledge Visit healthyauburnwaters.org and click on “info for businesses” to take the pledge. For a list of businesses that have already signed up, visit healthyauburnwaters.org/commercial.htm.