Waterwise Wednesday: Merry Christmas

Photo © creativecommonsstockphotos

Robert Tiso playing on crystal goblets with water for your Christmas enjoyment. To listen click:Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy (2008)

Want to try it yourself? Here’s a brief tutorial:
https://recipes.howstuffworks.com/food-facts/question603.htm

Merry Christmas!


Waterwise Wednesday: Wasted Energy Equals Wasted Water

Photo © Orlando Florin Rosu

The average US person’s water footprint for power production in the US averages to 39 gallons per person per day on according to WaterFootprint.org. And nearly 25% of all residential power consumed stems from idle appliances and devices.

Save water and energy:

– Unplug phone chargers, laptop charges, and game consoles when not in use.

– Shut down computers at the end of the day

– Flip off power strips when done with the devices

– Use power strips or smart strips to cluster multiple devices onto one switch. (e.g., computer, printer, and router or TV and video game console)

– Unplug the coffee maker, washer, dryer, or microwave if not using. Digital displays require a constant draw of power.

Waterwise Wednesday: Winter Walking with Pets

Please remember to pick up pet waste during winter outings. Pet waste caught in snowmelt contains nutrients and bacteria that can threaten human and animal health.

The North Platte River is not rated for recreational use because of e. coli., the bacteria present in fecal waste. The waste affects in a few ways:

– Nutrients in pet waste encourage excess weed and algae growth after the thaw.

– As both waste and algae decay they use up oxygen in the water which can kill fish and other aquatic life.

– The bacteria can also carry Salmonellosis, Toxocariasis (roundworms), or Toxoplasmosis which can spread illness to people.

Please carry disposable bags while walking your dog to pick up and dispose of waste properly in a trash can, wrapping it carefully to avoid spillage during collection.

Photo © creativecommonsstockphotos

Waterwise Wednesday: Caring for Snow

Photo © creativecommonsstockphotos

Urban snowmelt runoff carries diverse pollutants, like gas combustion products, snowmelting agents, and automotive exhaust, which threaten the quality of the receiving waters, like the North Platte River.

Pollutants can affect water quality faster two ways in winter. First, snow collects contaminants and releases them in concentrated form during melts. Second, the partially frozen state of rivers lessen the ability for self-purification.

Keeping walks and driveways clear, using snowmelt “sparingly and caringly”, and driving only when necessary are good winter water quality measures.

As much as 75 percent of water supplies in some western states are derived from snowmelt, according to the United States Geological Service (USGS). The Nebraska Panhandle relies heavily on snowmelt for our water supply – so taking care of our snow means taking care of our water.


Waterwise Wednesday: Pass the Salt?

This week’s snow may require some walkway de-icing before holiday gatherings tomorrow. There several options for ice melt, each with its own advantages.

1. Rock salt, or sodium chloride, is inexpensive and effective. It works well in temperatures over 20 degrees. However, it is toxic to plants, corrosive, and can burn pet paws.

2. Magnesium chloride less corrosive to concrete, less irritating to skin, and less toxic to plants. It is effective to 5 degrees Fahrenheit.

3. Calcium chloride works in temperatures down to -20 degrees Fahrenheit. Very little calcium chloride is needed to handle most icy conditions.

4. Potassium chloride and urea are considered safe to use around vegetation. Both require a higher rate of application than the other options and work down 12 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit.

4. Calcium magnesium acetate (CMA) is safe for the environment, biodegradable, and non-corrosive to concrete and metal. It works to 20 degrees Fahrenheit. CMA doesn’t need to be applied as much as rock salt to be effective, but does need to applied before the snow and ice accumulate to be most effective.


Waterwise Wednesday: Get out of the FOG

Photo © Stephane Tougard

Fat, Oil, and Grease (FOG) clog pipes similar to the way they clog arteries. FOGs coat the inside of pipes, harden, and build up layers until a pipe is clogged.

Dispose of FOGs correctly. Cool grease after cooking then put into a bag or other sealable container that can be put in the trash.


Waterwise Wednesday: Plastic Laundry

Clothing, especially those made from synthetic fabric, sheds microfibers when washed. The microfibers are small enough to slip through washing machine filters, dryer lint catchers, and municipal water treatment. Synthetic fibers contribute to microplastic pollution in the nation’s waterways since they cannot degrade.

Reduce microplastic/fiber pollution with these tips:

1. Wash less. Wash clothes only when they’re visibly dirty or smelly. Sponge or dust off little messes and air out if it doesn’t really need a wash.

2. Do full loads at coolest temperature to get clothes clean when washing is necessary. This helps preserve fabric and colors.

3. Line dry. Dryers and heat break down fabric faster and increase shedding.

4. Choose natural fibers. Cotton, wool, linen, hemp, silk and lyocell are natural biodegradable fabric fibers.

5. Can’t part with the fleece pullover or nylon running tights? Try a guppybag or coraball to help capture the microfibers.

Graphic: Statista based on research at Plymouth University, UK

Waterwise Wednesday: Halloween Treat Tips

Savoring candy treats is part of the Halloween experience, ward off cavities with these water tips.

1. Eat and Drink (Water). Enjoy a glass of tap water with candy or chocolate to help keep sugar rinsed off the teeth.

2. Swish and rinse teeth with water after enjoying a sugary snack.

3. Consider a fluoride rinse when brushing or drink flouridated tap water. Flouride helps strengthen teeth to prevent cavities.
(Scottsbluff does not flouridate, Gering does).

4. Encourage brushing and flossing after a treat session.

5. Choose better sweets for teeth.

Graphic: America’s Pediatric Dentists

Waterwise Wednesday: Drops to Watts

Graphic: EPA.gov/Watersense

Saving water saves energy. Simply running a faucet for five minutes uses about as much energy as a 60-watt incandescent light bulb staying on for 14 hours, according to the EPA.

How can you save both water and energy?

1. Use less water or use it efficiently – shorter showers, full loads of dishes, turn the tap off while brushing teeth or washing dishes, use a hot water kettle or microwave to heat only the water you need.

2. Find and fix leaks in toilets, sinks, sprinkler systems and appliances.

3. Use cold water instead of hot when possible – laundry, washing fruits and vegetables (use the rinsewater for house plants), rinsing cleaning products

4. Install low-flow fixtures and faucet aerators in showers and sinks.

5. Replace worn out and older inefficient appliances with Water Sense and Energy Star labeled products tested and designed to use water and energy more efficiently – toilets, washing machines, and water heaters are big ones.

Waterwise Wednesday: The Falling Leaves

Photo © Mishkaki

As falling leaves drift to the ground, please clear them from storm drain grates and put them to better use. Leaves can easily clog storm drains creating preventable flooding and nutrient overload pollution.

There’s several good uses for those fallen leaves:

1. Shred and spread on the lawn for a nutrient boosting mulch.

2. Convert them to compost either in your own pile or put them in a city yardwaste bin and we’ll compost them at the Yardwaste Facility.

3. Use the leaves as mulch in your garden beds to protect the soil and hold moisture. Next spring till them into the soil for extra nutrients.