Running your dishwasher with regular detergent could be polluting local water with phosphorus, which acts as a fertilizer and speeds up growth of plants and algae, according to the state Department of Ecology. The plants die and bacteria use up oxygen that is dissolved in the water so less is available for other aquatic life.
While industry and wastewater treatment plants make up about half the phosphorus put into the state’s waters, dishwashing detergents account for upwards of 12 percent, according to Ecology.
Look for detergents and other cleaning products and fertilizers without phosphate listed as an ingredient.
For more information visit www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/wqhome.html and click on “Phosphorus Ban” under the Nonpoint Pollution heading.
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