Waste from humans, pets, livestock, and wildlife can make its way into the water and contaminate it with harmful bacteria and other pathogens. Shellfish such as clams, oysters, and mussels filter large amounts of water daily and help clean the water. A single oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water per day. If the water is contaminated the shellfish will take it in and likely concentrate the contaminants. By taking the following steps, you can protect your beach and your family from land based contamination:
- Knowing where your septic system is located and following the maintenance and pumping recommendations as described in Guideline 1.
- Bagging your pet’s waste and putting it into the garbage.
- Managing your manure if you have livestock or horses. See Guideline 1.
- Minimizing the amount of pesticides and fertilizers you use. See Guideline 3.
- Planting trees, shrubs, flowers, and groundcovers to provide some filtration for stormwater runoff before it reaches your beach. See Guideline 3.