Waterwise Wednesday: Planning, Policy and Protection

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Scottsbluff, Gering and Terrytown work to preserve water quality, implement good stormwater management and flood prevention. Some of the cities’ tasks include:

– Working with agencies to identify and map floodplains, wetlands and riparian areas.

– Determining areas for development, avoidance, and other sensitive areas.

– Integrating natural drainage features or low impact features into planning to minimize disturbance.

– Collaborating with agencies for proper management and preservation of riparian zones, community forestry, and land management techniques.


Waterwise Wednesday: Avoid Holiday FOG Clog

Prevent FOG (Fats, Oils and Grease) Clog this holiday season and throughout the year to reduce overflows, backups and clogs:

Never pour FOG down kitchen sinks, garbage disposals or into toilets!

Instead:
– Let FOGs cool after cooking, then put them into a disposable plastic bag, securely seal or tie, then put into the trash.

– Wipe pots, pans and plates with paper towels to capture any leftover grease before washing.

– Use a drain strainer to keep grease and food scraps out of the kitchen sink drain.

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Waterwise Wednesday: Winter Tree Watering

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Trees – a vital part of our green infrastructure – may be dormant now, but they are still susceptible to cold and dry conditions. Lack of water through the winter season can damage root systems. The weakened trees may look normal in the spring, but will usually die back later in the summer.


Protect your trees with these winter watering tips:

– Water only when the temperature is above 40 degrees with no snow or ice on the ground.

-Water early in the day, so the water can soak in before the temperature drops at night.

– Use a soaker hose to focus water on the roots and avoid spraying branches or evergreen foilage.

– Water trees one or two times per month until they begin leafing out in the spring.

Waterwise Wednesday: Protect Your Pipes

Prevent a pipe from freezing and bursting to save your pipes, water, and property.

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Chrome faucet with water drop

– Keep the indoor temperature in your home 55 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer

– Drip faucets overnight when the temperature is expected to be well below freezing. It may seem like a waste, but the moving water will prevent the pipe from freezing.


– Collect the water in a bucket to flush your toilets or water your plants.

– Securely cover exposed outdoor pipes and hose bibs with pipe insulation to prevent freeze and burst.

– Check for leaks after any thaws. Temperature changes can cause pipes to expand and contract, leading to more leaks.

– Know exactly where the main water shut-off valve is located. Turning off the water quickly after discovering a leak saves hundreds of gallons of water.

Waterwise Wednesday: Fall Water Check

City of Scottsbluff, Nebraska- Government>Publishing Tools

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Use this week’s warmer weather for a Fall water check.

1. Find and fix leaks in sprinkler systems, broken heads and exterior walls (look for water damage to outer walls). Tiny openings may have allowed below freezing temperatures to freeze a pipe last week.

2. Insulate water pipes in unheated areas by wrapping with heat-tape and insulation tubes. This will allow hot water to reach your taps faster and save energy on water heating.

3. Locate your property shut-off valve. The faster you can turn off the water during a major leak, the less property damage and less water wasted.

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Waterwise Wednesday: Gutter check

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Continued melting means flowing snow melt and runoff. Check street gutters and storm drains near your home to make sure they’re clear of debris and functioning properly.

Clogged storm drains can cause neighborhood flooding, icy back up and nutrient overload as debris decays in the drains.Removing leaves, one of the largest urban sources of phosphorus pollution, from street gutters and drains can reduce the amount of phosphorus in urban runoff by 80% (USGS 2016).

Waterwise Wednesday: Clean Gutters, Clean Water

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Annually, more than 50% of phosphorus in our surface waters comes from leaves in the street according to a 2016 study by the United States Geological Survey, making leaves one of the largest sources of urban phosphorus pollution.

As rain falls and flows through leaves, phosphorus leaches out much like a tea bag in water. This “leaf tea” flows through our storm sewer system to the North Platte River.

Too much phosphorus causes large and potentially dangerous algae blooms that can block sunlight for aquatic plants, clog the gills of fish, reduce levels of dissolved oxygen, and produce toxins that are harmful if ingested. It only takes one pound of phosphorus to produce 500 pounds of algae (Vallentyne 1974).

Removing leaves from the street before it rains can reduce the amount of phosphorus in urban stormwater by 80% compared to no leaf removal (USGS 2016).

Protect your waters, by sweeping leaves back onto the lawn or garden as mulch, composting them, or putting them into the City’s yardwaste container.

Waterwise Wednesday: Freeze Prep

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Time to put away the watering tools, the season’s first hard freeze is predicted for late this week.

– Winterize sprinkler systems by expelling all the water from the irrigation system and equipment, then blow out with pressurized air.

– Empty any remaining water and clean any residue from rain barrels or other water capture devices.

– Disconnect hoses from outdoor spigots and store them inside. Shut off water to outdoor spigots if possible.

– Clear gutters of leaves and debris to avoid trapping rain and snow melt that may freeze and pull the gutters away from the house.


Waterwise Wednesday: Fall Water Tips

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1. Change the Timer. Cooler weather means lawns require less water.

2. Do a thorough sprinkler system check and make necessary repairs. A line puncture 1/32nd of an inch in diameter wastes up to 6,300 gallons of water per month, which is higher than both Scottsbluff and Gering’s monthly minimum water use rate. (Rates increase for water use above 5,000 gallons per month in both cities.)

3. Plan(t) Ahead. Fall is a great time to introduce native perennials and grasses to your landscaping. They establish root systems during the fall and, once mature, will use less water and chemicals than traditional landscape plants.

Waterwise Wednesday: Smart Water for Trees

Lawns can go dormant in a dry spell, but trees and shrubs remain active during growing season. We’re in the dry part of summer now, with moderate drought conditions when surface water level declines and plant growth can be stunted so please continue to water trees and shrubs.

When you water, wet the entire root area of the tree and soak the soil approximately 12 inches deep. A 6-to-8 foot tree uses about 2 1/2 to 3 gallons of water once a week.

Soaker hoses, trickle or drip systems can feed the root zone with minimum surface wetting and water waste. Alternatively, a berm around the tree or shrub base may be filled with water for slow infiltration and percolation into the root zone.


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