Straight from the Tap

Protect Lake Erie by Protecting its Watershed


Our 1.4 million customers are part of the more than 11 million people who rely on Lake Erie as their source of drinking water. Clean water and a healthy Lake Erie is critical not only for our community to survive but for it to thrive as a region that leverages its assets to build economic, social and environmental well-being for all.

That’s why being an environmental steward of Lake Erie is part of our mission. Keeping our source water clean is the first step in providing affordable, fresh water to your tap.

The health of Lake Erie is affected by the large rivers and smaller tributaries that drain water from the surrounding land to its shore, known as a watershed. The Lake Erie Watershed drains 30,140 square miles of Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, New York,
Pennsylvania and Ontario.

All rainfall and snowmelt from both the natural and developed areas in the Lake Erie Watershed is channeled into groundwater, creeks, streams, rivers, sewers, and eventually Lake Erie.

This means that any water runoff from your property – and anything it might carry with it – travels into storm drains and waterways like the Cuyahoga River, Doan Brook, and Euclid Creek, and eventually flows into the lake.

In fact, 80% of trash in Lake Erie comes from the land. And any pollutants carried with water runoff ultimately affect Lake Erie’s water quality and ecosystem. 

The health of our source water and its watershed is impacted by every person’s actions at home, at work, and in our communities. There are many simple actions you can take to help protect our local watersheds and Lake Erie.

  • Install a rain barrel to collect and reuse water runoff from your house, which can reduce your water bill and help minimize stormwater runoff.
  • 93% of debris on Lake Erie beaches is plastic. Reduce your use of disposable, single-use plastics by replacing items like grocery bags and to-go utensils with reusable options.
  • Pick up litter and debris in your yard and community, including pet waste. By doing so, you’re not only keeping your neighborhood beautiful, you’re also keeping trash out of your local waterways and Lake Erie.
  • Use pesticides and fertilizers carefully and sparingly. Get a soil test or check your soil type to determine what types of nutrients, if any, your soil needs before applying fertilizer to your lawn or garden.
  • Properly dispose of hazardous household chemicals and medications. Follow your community’s guidelines for trash and recycling and look for local hazardous waste drop-off or collection events for safe disposal.
  • Landscape with native plants and trees. Native plants are good for local wildlife and are easier and less costly to maintain since they are adapted to the Ohio climate.
  • Plant trees, grass, or shrubs to prevent soil erosion and reduce impermeable surfaces. Every tree that is planted in a watershed can reduce stormwater runoff by 1,000 gallons per year, which reduces stress on sewer infrastructure.
  • Get involved with local watershed groups and other organizations dedicated to protecting the environment. Promote the enhancement and restoration of streams and wetlands in your community.