Stormwater Treatment Ideas

The primary advantages of tree box filters include ease of construction and simple, cost-effective maintenance. Plant selection allows for a good blend into the environment. Maintenance is normally done with a rake and shovel to remove spent mulch and captured trash.

Waterwise Wednesday: The Ultimate Water Filter

Earth’s water cycle constantly refreshes our water supply as it travels through (the basic) phases of precipitation, evaporation, and condensation. We depend on the water cycle to bring us fresh, clean water.

Our water can only be as clean as it’s filters. Damage of soil, air, or ground surfaces also damages the filtration or renewal of water.

Greenhouse gases affects the amount, distribution, timing, and quality of available water which affects our activities like recreation (fishing, hunting, water recreation), farming, manufacturing.

Contaminants left on the surface or in the soil contaminate groundwater as it soaks through the soil, requiring additional filtration for humans to drink.

Every person can help prevent pollution, which helps keep the water cycle flowing smoothly and our water clean.

Image: NASA

Downspout Redirection

Downspouts directed towards natural areas, such as yards or flowerbeds, allow the runoff to infiltrate and be used to its full advantage. This action also helps reduce the volume of runoff and amount of pollutants that enter the storm sewer system, which get sent directly to receiving lakes and streams.

Waterwise Wednesday: Truly Green Lawn Remedies

Problem: Lawnmowers create 5% of US air pollution (EPA)

Remedy: Buffalo Grass tops out between 4-5 inches and has a growing shorter season; thus requiring less mowing.

Problem: Lawn owners use 10 times the amount of pesticides and fertilizers per acre than farmers use on their crops (National Academy of Sciences).

Remedy: Native grasses are used to drier conditions. Even traditional grasses can be trained to use less water.

Problem: Traditional grasses use more water

Remedy: Native grass species require less chemical input since they’re already adapted to succeed in our soils and climate.

Problem: Native grasses aren’t as pretty, soft, green, etc.

Remedy: Check the different types. Tatanka buffalo grass is actually used on golf courses. (Which is an activity you’ll have more time for by raising a sustainable lawn.)

Please Keep Grass Clippings Out Of Street.

It takes just as much effort to cut the grass and shoot it into your yard as it does to shoot it into the street. The difference is that it’s a GOOD THING to put it in your yard and a BAD THING to put it in the street. People notice these things.

Waterwise Wednesday: Pet Blizzard Protection

Most animal deaths in winter storms are caused by dehydration. Take precautions to insure the safety of your animals and pets.

Pawprint in snow
Photo © Dmitry Maslov

– Move animals to sheltered areas with a supply of non-frozen water

– Ensure their shelters can withstand wind, heavy snow and ice

– Provide access to high ground unimpeded by fencing or other barriers for when the snow and ice melt and flooding potential increases

Waterwise Wednesday: The First Flush

The First Flush is the initial stormwater runoff that picks up pollutants as it flows over surfaces. The photos below show what the first flush looks like at two Scottsbluff outfalls.


The swirl sheen indicates oil and grease washed off the roads by the stormwater runoff.
Murky gray water of the first flush carrying sediment, oils, heavy metals and other pollutants.
The clear water on top is clean groundwater that typically flows from this outfall. The murky gray water is first flush stormwater mixing with the clean groundwater as it travels to the North Platte River.