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.

Waterwise Wednesday: Handwash vs. Dishwasher

Photo © Ctacik Hands in gloves washing dishes at the kitchen

Dishwashers use half the energy, one-sixth of the water and less soap than hand-washing according to research at the University of Bonn, Germany. Dishwashers beat the hand washers in both efficient water use and cleanliness level.

Need a dishwasher? Consider these tips to get the most efficient and effective:

1. Choose an ENERGY STAR dishwasher

2. Scrape food into the compost. Don’t iwaste water rinsing.

3. Choose an eco-friendly dishwasher detergent.

4. Run full loads, on the “light” cycle and turn off the “heated drying” option.

5. Repair a dishwasher before replacing it.


Waterwise Wednesday: Fall Fertilizing

Photo © creativecommonsstockphotos

Fall, right after the first freeze, is the best time to fertilize the lawn and combat weeds as the plants take the fertilizer and herbicide deep into their systems as they shut down for the season.

Remember to apply chemicals “Sparingly and Caringly” – using only the amount needed according to instructions – to promote plant health and prevent waste. Sweep any extra back onto the lawn after application to prevent loss in runoff as fertilizer and pesticides are the top non-point source pollutant in US surface waters.

Waterwise Wednesday: A Slight Delay

Autumn officially started on Monday, but turning of the leaves will be delayed until mid-October according to the Weather Channel.

Cooler temperatures coupled with less daylight prompts leaves to change color; however, warmer evening temperatures haven’t slowed chlorophyll production yet.

As a bonus, the extra moist summer should encourage brighter more vibrant colors once the leaves do change.

Photo © creativecommonsstockphotos

Waterwise Wednesday: Black Water

Photo © creativecommonsstockphotos

Cities flush fire hydrants to make sure the hydrants work properly and rid the system mains of corrosion, rust, and sediment.

If faucet water is dark or discolored after a City hydrant flush simply run the tap until the water is clear again. The black sediment is naturally occurring maganese that has reacted with sodium hypochlorite that is used to protect water from contamination as it travels through the pipe system.

Waterwise Wednesday: Water Harvesting

Capture and reuse rain runoff to supplement regular watering and reduce demand on the public water system with these ideas.

1. Gently mound dirt along a plant’s dripline to hold and infiltrate runoff.

2. Re-use household wastewater from dehumidifiers or air conditioning condensers for irrigation.

3. Install a rain barrel or cistern. Rain barrels can store the water until the weather turns dry and is needed.

4. Plant a rain garden – the basin will hold runoff while providing the yard with color and pollinator habitat.

Photo via gilintx via Flickr CC

Waterwise Wednesday: Persistent Perchlorate


Photo © Laura Arredondo

Enjoy the Fourth of July fireworks. And please take time to carefully sweep firework launch and debris landing areas and properly dispose of the debris afterwards.

Perchlorate, a compound used as an oxidizing agent in fireworks (i.e., fuel to make the firework burn), persists in soil and water.

How persistent? Well, Mt. Rushmore National Memorial’s firework shows stopped in 2009. In a 2016 US Geological Survey high levels of perchlorate were still reported in the park – 38 micrograms in a groundwater sample and 54 micrograms/liter in a stream, both in excess of the EPA’s 15 micrograms per liter, and 274 times higher than samples taken outside the memorial park’s borders.