Green Cottaging: How to preserve the cottage environment
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Swimming in clean water, hiking in the woods, and just breathing the fresh air-- lakeside living gives cottagers a special appreciation for nature and a responsibility to maintain the cottage ecosystem for generations to come. Green Cottaging: How to preserve the cottage environment is a collection of our favourite environmental questions from Cottage Life magazine readers and answers from experts, with pragmatic solutions you can use at your cottage.
pesticides, and volatile organics,” says Russ Calow, manager of analytical services with Lakefield Research, an international testing and consulting firm based in Lakefield, Ont. The likelihood of these things showing up in your water depends on variables such as geology, geography, and the major economic activities in your area. If your lake is in a heavily farmed area, for example, you might want to get your water tested privately for herbicides and pesticides. Cottagers downstream from
manufacturing operations may be more concerned about industrial runoff. Some private labs offer tests for heavy metals, nutrients, and aesthetic qualities such as turbidity and hardness. —June 2001 We often have huge flocks of seagulls floating in the middle of our small lake. In addition, several hundred Canada geese frequent the lake from summer until freeze-up. We enjoy the waterfowl visits, but we’re concerned about fecal contamination from the increasing numbers of birds. (We’ve heard of
When it comes to handling black water, both forms of waste disposal are equally effective if they’re properly constructed, according to Ray Banach, president of On Site Assessments, a waste-water system design company in North Bay, Ont. Septic systems use a multi-stage process to handle waste. When you flush your toilet the plumbing delivers the black water to the septic tank, where bacteria start to consume the sewage. At the same time, the liquids and solids begin to separate. The solids
might not be rigid enough to stand up to your boat’s repeated bumping, and could collapse. Plus, tires will almost certainly scuff a fibreglass hull. “Tires are fine for tugs or steel-hulled boats and that’s about it,” explains Scott Strang, owner of G&B Sports Marine in Oakville. —April 2009 We have always used Ivory soap at the lake because it’s a pure soap. We also like Ivory because the bar floats if it falls off the dock into the water. However, now we’re wondering if maybe we shouldn’t be
septic permit may still be on record, or have an inspector look at your system. Keeping your septic in good shape is another reason to get a machine that uses less water. “The more water you put through the septic system, the harder it has to work, and the more likely it will have problems,” says Joy. Only use bleach when you really need to (it can mess with the organisms in the tank), and use EcoLogo-certified or phosphate-free detergent. Also, “try to avoid doing too many loads of laundry in a