Fairfax County Supervisor and COG Chesapeake Bay Policy Committee Chair Penny Gross spoke at Smithsonian Garden Fest on May 9 as part of National Drinking Water Week. She encouraged people to protect area waterways use water wisely and drink tap water while local water utilities provided reusable bottles and fresh tap water to attendees.
“Water is a part of our everyday lives – every person home business and community is dependent upon reliable water infrastructure” Gross said. “That’s why delivering clean safe water is the top priority for our region’s drinking water utilities. During National Drinking Water Week I would ask you to stop and think about how you can help to protect the water you depend on every day.”
Gross encouraged area residents to
- get to know where your water comes from;
- protect water at its source by minimizing the use of fertilizers and pesticides in gardens and properly disposing of household hazardous wastes; and
- only dispose of water and waste down the drain and toilet. Dispose of pharmaceuticals in the trash; drain cooking oils and bacon grease from pans into a can and throw them away versus pouring down the drain. Dispose of cleaning wipes versus flushing them.
Gross concluded her remarks by highlighting the benefits of tap water which is better regulated than bottled water and far more sustainable. People in the U.S. drink about ½ a billion disposable bottles of water each week enough to circle the Earth five times. Seventy-five percent of those bottles end up in landfills incinerated or as roadside litter that pollutes waterways. Tap water is also a lot more economical than buying bottled water. Gross noted that one dollar’s worth of tap water fills about 1750 16oz bottles.
Gross praised the network of businesses and institutions in the District of Columbia Maryland and Virginia that have joined TapIt Metro DC – including the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. TapIt offers free tap water to anyone with a reusable bottle via the TapIt network of partners. Click here to learn more and download TapIt smartphone apps.
TapIt Metro DC is a regional initiative of the Community Engagement Campaign (CEC) a partnership between COG and regional water supply and wastewater members to engage area residents in wise water use and source water protection via public messaging.
photo caption: Marlo Watson (Prince William County Service Authority) Heidi Bonnaffon (COG) Penny Gross (Fairfax County) and Jeanne Bailey (Fairfax Water) credit: Matt Kroneberger (COG)