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Healthy Waters event gives advice on keeping Puget Sound clean

SNOHOMISH — As the rain returns, permeates the ground, and from there the Puget Sound, it often encounters harmful substances that can contaminate local waters.
At the city’s Healthy Homes = Healthy Waters fair last week, water-health presenters came complete with realistic props to demonstrate.
On a bright green pad of artificial grass, simulated dog droppings elicited distaste but an opportunity to learn.
Participants were invited to bag up the waste and toss it into the trash, keeping canine and feline waste out of the water. 
At a booth focused on recycling, presenters stressed that the pet waste did need to go into the trash, not compost. Canines are carnivores and while compost benefits from the manure of herbivores like cows, the bacteria in pet waste makes it unsafe for garden use, said a representative from environmental sustainability agency ECOSS.
Chemical yard and home cleaning products were also on presenters’ do-not-use lists. WSU Sustainable Community stewards passed out Green Cleaning cookbooks, encouraging attendees to cheaply and easily concoct their own effective but gentler-to-the-environment cleansers.
Hands on learning meant stirring together half a cup of baking soda and a quarter cup of hydrogen peroxide, then adding one teaspoon of dish soap to create a multi-purpose cleaner for tile, porcelain and grout cleaner.
Salmon and the whales who feed on them depend on clean, cool waters to thrive and breed, explained David Bain of Sno-King Watershed Council. Avoiding chemicals and cleaning up after pets were both important to that aim. Bain advocated planting trees to provide riverside shade that cooled local rivers. He added that planting native shrubs helped nourish the fish as dragonfly would lay eggs on them, which would develop into larvae that fed the salmon.
There were attractions and lessons for children, too. A neon pink swimming pool held plastic fish of each of the five salmon species with trivia questions on their undersides; King, Sockeye, Coho, Pink and Chum.
Children, and grownups, could simulate rain by squeezing a wet sponge above a plastic town model where oils preapplied to the road turned into an ugly slime as the water and oil mixed and ran downhill into a model pond.
As they learned about the importance of avoiding water pollution for humans and other species, visitors were asked to take simple actions to protect water quality. Organizers said healthier homes and better water were as simple as; keeping oil and grease out of drains, using a car wash, planting native plants, picking up litter and using reusable shopping bags.



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