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Our Water Quality is Up to You

Water: it is one of our most valuable resources. We need it to drink, cook, bathe, and survive. Yet we take it for granted. Each day we dump dangerous chemicals onto the ground that could potentially get into our water supply and affect our water quality.

Our Underground Water Source

Approximately 87 percent of Renton's water is supplied by the Cedar Valley Aquifer, with the rest coming from Springbrook Springs - a source located in south Renton.  As Renton's primary water source, the Cedar Valley Aquifer has been designated a "sole source" by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This means that no federal financial assistance can be given to a project which might contaminate the aquifer and create a public health hazard.

The aquifer is an underground layer of sand and gravel running 3 1/2 miles long, and furnishing Renton residents with an average of 7.3 million gallons of water each day. At some points, the groundwater contained in our aquifer is only 23 feet below ground, making it very sensitive to pollutants.

Fed by rain and snow falling on the aquifer and higher adjacent ground, the aquifer is also replenished by groundwater flow from the Cedar Valley. It is highly permeable, and contaminants reaching these recharge areas could potentially find their way into our drinking water.

Protecting Our Aquifer

We drink what we pour out. The most obvious pollutants come from fuel tank spills, street run-off, septic tanks, and storm sewers. But we present one of the greatest dangers to the aquifer. How often have we used pesticides to maintain the beauty of our northwest lawns? Or dumped unwanted chemicals into the ground? How about chemicals used to unclog a stubborn drain that are then flushed into a septic tank? These are everyday examples of how we, as residents, control the purity of our own water.

Clean Water Tomorrow Takes Actions Today

The City has already taken steps to keep our water supply clean. The small portion of earth we can control seriously affects us, our children, our neighbors, and our city for years to come. No one expects us to change old habits overnight. But each step forward brings us closer to a solution.

What can you do?

It is simple. If you are using a pesticide, make sure it is natural. If you need to dispose of unwanted chemicals, make sure they are properly stored and handled. Avoid products marked "danger," "flammable," or "corrosive," which usually indicate hazardous material, and substitute natural cleansers, such as vinegar and baking soda.

Take action to save the quality of our drinking water and our quality of life.