- Environmental Services
- Environmental Education Materials
Environmental Education Materials
Here we have compiled educational materials for the residents of Orono involving everything environmental.
Summertime is on its way and the backyard pool can provide hours of fun and entertainment. But when the season is over and you need to drain your pool or spa, do you know how to do it safely? Releasing polluting chemicals, such as chlorinated swimming pool water, into the environment causes water pollution and damage to sensitive aquatic life and ecosystems. Follow these steps to protect our environment!
How to safely drain your swimming pool:
Once the chlorination system has been turned off, or you have stopped adding chlorine to the water, keep the water in the pool/spa for 7-10 days to allow the chlorine to naturally evaporate in the sunlight.
Dechlorination additives can be purchased and used to speed up the dechlorination process. Use a test kit to confirm no chlorine level and pH in the water. Most pool owners use a pH and chlorine test kit to maintain the quality of the pool or spa water, but if you do not have one, you can purchase an inexpensive kit at a local pool supply store.
Option 1: Your Lawn - PREFERRED DISCHARGE METHOD
Slowly discharge dechlorinated water on the grass or any other area of your property that will allow the water to percolate into the ground, if and only if...
1. You avoid conditions that may cause street or property flooding,
2. and the land area is sufficient to prevent erosion and runoff into a a ditch or waterway.
Option 2: Storm Drain - THE LAST RESORT DISCHARGE METHOD
If you cannot safely discharge your dechlorinated water on your lawn, you may slowly discharge to a storm drain, if and only if...
1. It is not raining. Discharging during a rain event may overload the storm drainage system
2. Discharged water will not cause street or property flooding.
Town of Orono's Stormwater Management Plan and Permit
Bangor Area Stormwater Group (BASWG) : The Bangor Area Stormwater Group (BASWG) is a collaboration of Bangor, Brewer, Hampden, Milford, Old Town, Orono, Veazie, Dorothea Dix Psychiatric Center, Eastern Maine Community College, Maine Air National Guard, University of Maine Augusta – Bangor and University of Maine to use public education and sound science to improve regional water quality through collaborative stormwater management in the Greater Bangor Urbanized Areas.
Where does Stormwater Go? (Video)
- Additional Cardboard Recycling Bins at ND Paper in Old Town
- Check the Trash & Recycling Icon at the bottom of the page for more information
If properly designed, constructed, and maintained, your septic system can provide long-term, effective treatment of household wastewater. If your septic system isn’t maintained, you might need to replace it, costing you thousands of dollars. A malfunctioning system can contaminate groundwater that might be a source of drinking water. And if you sell your home, your septic system must be in good working order.
How to keep your septic system healthy:
Septic Tank Tips
• Tanks need to be checked every two to five years and pumped if necessary. New homes should pumped within 12 to 18 months of occupancy to establish a baseline for the pumper.
• Never allow a tank to be cleaned through the inspection pipe. Scum can plug the baffle, or baffles can be knocked off. Tanks should only be cleaned through the access or maintenance hole.
• Be sure baffles, effluent screens, pumps and other components are inspected when the tank is pumped.
• Install risers on the access covers to allow easier access. Insulate the cover with insulation panels and secure tightly.
• An effluent screen will prevent most solids from reaching the disposal field. Install and clean according to manufacturer recommendations.
• Never use additives. The cleaners are harmful to your system, often causing solids to leave the tank and enter the disposal field. They do not replace good management practices. Starters and feeders are not effective.
• Do not ignore alarms-troubleshoot the problem!
Leach Field Tips
• Maintain vegetative cover (turf grass, native grasses,
flowers). Mow, but do not fertilize, burn or over-water the disposal field.
• Keep all vehicles, ATVs, snowmobiles, etc. off the disposal field.
• Do not plant trees or woody shrubs on or near the disposal field.
• Inspect for cracked, missing inspection riser covers annually.
• Follow practices to prevent freezing, including not removing snow above the system or distribution lines, and mulching or insulating the entire system if needed.
Failing septic systems are expensive to repair or replace, and poor maintenance is often the culprit. For more information, please call 207-866-5051 or visit the Code Enforcement Office.
Did you know that the salts used on our roads and driveways can have harmful effects on Maine’s lakes and rivers? Read: The Impact of Deicing Salt on Maine Streams
- Stormwater runoff from rain and melting snow can carry chlorides (road salt) and other pollutants from the ground right into our storm drains and ultimately streams, lakes, and rivers.
- Road salt increases the salinity (saltiness) of our freshwaters
- Freshwater insects, invertebrates, and fishes cannot tolerate water with increased salinity
- Increased salinity decreases the biodiversity of aquatic animals and plants
- Road salts change the physicochemical properties of soil structure and water
- Can result in dissolved organic matter being flushed from the soils, making soils less rich in nutrients
- Can increase the concentrations of heavy metals in the freshwater environment
HELPFUL TIPS (Read: Stormwater and Salt: A Difficult Balance)
- Reduce the amount of salt needed or used
- Less salt is always better: A single coffee mug of salt, applied carefully, can easily be enough for a full driveway
- Shovel first, then salt: Shoveling before you salt can reduce the amount of salt you need to use. Save your salt to break up ice rather than using it on snow that you can remove without any help.
- Not all salts work the same: If it's really cold outside, your salt may not be working, so applying more won't help. Different road salt mixtures work differently at different temperatures, read the outside of your container to determine the minimum working temperature.
- Salt before the storm: If you have to salt, its always easier to prevent ice than de-ice.
- Gravel Roads
- Universal Waste
- Energy Efficiency
- Erosion & Sedimentation
- Sump Pumps
- Urban Tree Inventory
Soil erosion is the single largest pollutant (by volume) to our surface waters and many of the erosion and sedimentation problems in lake watersheds originate from improper construction and maintenance of camp/gravel roads.
Read: Gravel Road Maintenance Manual (Maine DEP) - Its purpose is to help people maintain and improve gravel roads while protecting the quality of water in lakes, streams, coastal areas, and wetlands in Maine.
Universal waste is hazardous waste that is widely generated. Some examples include:
- Rechargeable lead acid batteries (e.g. batteries used for boat trolling motors or ice fishing fish finders)
- Mercury devices (e.g. thermostats, thermometers, certain light bulbs, motor vehicle switches)
- Oil-based paints
We encourage recycling and reducing the amount of these wastes that are disposed of in an inappropriate manner. Please see the universal waste collection programs below.
1. The Thermostat Recycling Corporation pays $5 each for mercury thermostats returned through HVAC wholesalers and participating retailers. To prevent mercury pollution, recycle your mercury thermostats. Just bring your old mercury thermostat to your local participating hardware store for an in-store $5.00 credit, or to an HVAC wholesaler to receive a receipt to be followed by a check in the mail for $5.00 for each mercury thermostat you turn in for recycling. See http://www.maine.gov/dep/mercury/hgthermo.html for more information on this program and the participating locations. The closest locations for Orono residents are listed below:
- Aubuchon Hardware: 486 STILLWATER AVE. OLD TOWN, ME 04468
- Many locations in Bangor and Brewer
2. The Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation takes back Nickel Cadmium, Nickel Metal Hydride, Lithium-Ion and small sealed lead acid rechargeable batteries. Call2Recycle offers a free recycling program for rechargeable batteries, including those from power tools, in laptops and tablets, and other portable electronic products. The program also accepts cell phones, and small sealed lead acid batteries. These items are collected at participating retail stores, businesses and governmental agencies. See http://maine.gov/dep/waste/recycle/battery.html for more information on this program and a directory of participating locations. The closest locations for Orono residents are listed below:
- Bangor: Lowes, Staples, Home Depot
3. The Automobile Manufacturers take back mercury switches from motor vehicles when they are dismantled. There are two separate programs, one for passenger vehicles including pickup trucks and one for medium and heavy-duty trucks.
a. Passenger Vehicle Program. In Maine, automobile companies pay for the collection and recycling of mercury switches. Auto dismantlers can sign up with the End of Life Vehicle Solutions (ELVS) program to receive a free collection bucket and $4 for each switch collected.. Go to http://maine.gov/dep/waste/motorvehiclerecycling/documents/auto-switch-non-participantoutreach1-2017.pdf for more information.
b. Medium and Heavy Truck Program. The Truck Manufacturers Association on behalf of their members operates the truck program. The White & Bradstreet facility in Augusta serves as the consolidation facility for this program. Dismantlers of medium and heavy-duty trucks can take their mercury switches along with their log sheets to the White & Bradstreet facility and receive a $4 bounty per switch.
4. E-waste Program. The Electronics Manufacturers' Take Back Program takes televisions, computer monitors, desktop printers, game consoles, e-readers, and tablets from households, K-12 schools, and businesses (for profit & non-profit) with 100 or fewer employees. See http://www.maine.gov/dep/waste/ewaste/index.html for more information on this program.
5. Mercury-added lamp (fluorescent light bulb) program. Go to https://www.maine.gov/dep/waste/productstewardship/recyclemercurylamps.html for information on the free recycling program for all types of fluorescent light bulbs from households only.
6. Architectural paint recycling program. This program offers free recycling of interior and exterior architectural coatings (both latex and oil-based) sold in containers of 5 gallons or less that is unused but intended for painting components of houses or other buildings. There are convenient drop-off locations across the state, and the program offers a large volume pick-up service to help contractors clean out stockpiles of old paint. Go to http://maine.gov/dep/waste/productstewardship/paint.html for more information. Below are the closest locations for Orono residents to take less than 5 gallons of paint.
- Aubuchon Hardware: 486 STILLWATER AVE. OLD TOWN, ME 04468
- Sherwin-Williams: 625 BROADWAY. BANGOR, ME 04401
Sump pumps are typically located in the basement of the home and are designed to prevent flooding after heavy precipitation. Outside water seeps into the home's lower level and is collected in a pit. When the water level is high enough within the pit, the sump pump moves the water outside and away from the home through a discharge pipe. Some sump pumps are connected directly to the sanitary sewer system, however we strongly discourage this set up as additional unnecessary water to the sanitary sewer system can overwhelm the treatment plant and cause combined sewer overflows. The discharge pipe should be attached to the storm sewer system or daylight into the outside environment. This means that whatever ends up in your sump pump and pit, will end up in the storm sewer system.
We all know that the storm sewer system is not treated and discharges directly to nearby waterbodies. Therefore it is important to double check that anything being stored in your basement is not polluting the storm sewer. For example, if you store your leftover paint or used motor oil in your basement, make sure they are not in a location where they can contaminate your sump pump water and double check that nothing is leaking. It is good practice to know where your discharge pipe is located and annually inspect your sump pump system to ensure that it is working properly. The best time to do this is after winter, when you’re prepping your home for spring storms. This spring, we encourage you to take a look around your basement for any potential stormwater pollutants and help keep our environment clean!