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Connected to the Earth

Environmental Health in and Around the Home

This Native American perspective on the Home*A*Syst program is a do-it-yourself risk assessment tool for homeowners to evaluate environmental and health risks in and around their homes. From keeping drinking water safe to avoiding household hazards like lead-based paint, this series of 11 fact sheets tells how to detect hazards and get started on reducing or eliminating them. New in October 2001, this tool is produced by the Montana State University Extension Service Housing Program.

Click on the highlighted words below to open on-line versions (PDFs) of the tool.

Cover (64 kb)

Introduction (112 kb)

Fact Sheet 1: Site Assessment: Protecting Water Quality Around Your Home (8 pages)

  • Part 1: Your Home's Surroundings
  • Part 2: Making a Map of Your Homesite


Fact Sheet 2: Preventing Pollution from "Stormwater Runoff" (8 pages)

  • Part 1: Reducing Pollutants in Runoff
  • Part 2: Landscaping and Homecare to Control Runoff


Fact Sheet 3: Making Sure Your Drinking Water is Safe (8 pages)

  • Part 1: Well Location
  • Part 2: Building and Maintaining Wells
  • Part 3: Water Testing and Unused Wells


Fact Sheet 4: Household Wastewater: Septic Systems and Other Waste Treatment (12 pages)

  • Part 1: Septic System Design and Location
  • Part 2: Septic System Care
  • Part 3: What Goes into Your Septic or Sewage System?


Fact Sheet 5: Hazardous Household Products (12 pages)

  • Part 1: Selecting, Buying and Using Products
  • Part 2: Safe Storage
  • Part 3: Product Disposal


Fact Sheet 6: Lead in and Around the Home (8 pages)

  • Part 1: Lead Sources in Your Home
  • Part 2: Lead Sources Outside Your Home
  • Part 3: How Lead Can Harm Children


Fact Sheet 7: Yard and Garden Care (8 pages)

Fact Sheet 8: Diesel and Other Fuels (8 pages)

  • Part 1: Fuel Containers
  • Part 2: Fuel Tanks


Fact Sheet 9: Indoor Air Quality: Health Risks in the Air You Breathe (8 pages)

  • Part 1: Air Quality Hazards: Finding and Fixing Them
  • Part 2: Ventilating Indoor Air


Fact Sheet 10: Heating and Cooling Systems: Saving Energy and Keeping Safe (8 pages)

  • Part 1: Ventilating Fuel-burning Appliances
  • Part 2: Energy Use
  • Part 3: Energy Efficiency


Fact Sheet 11: Dealing with Household Waste: And How to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Compost (8 pages)

  • Part 1: Reducing Waste
  • Part 2: Reusing, Recycling and Composting
  • Part 3: Waste Disposal on Your Property


To help assess personal property or situations, each fact sheet listed above includes:

  • background information
  • potential risks
  • graphics
  • definitions
  • instructions
  • checklists

For some topics this guide offers all the information you need to minimize or eliminate a pollution risk. For others it provides a starting point and helps you locate further information. The main idea is to identify risks, then, where possible, to take actions to reduce them and to prevent future problems. But, with this tool no one is looking over your shoulder. It is your choice.

To order a copy of Connected to the Earth ($7.50 each) contact M.S.U. Extension Publications at 406/994-3273 or at webmaster@peakstoprairies.org requesting the Connected to the Earth publication and including your credit card number, expiration date, and your mailing address.

"All things are connected. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the children of the earth." --Chief Seattle, Suquamish and Duwamish
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