Properly maintained irrigation systems use water efficiently and reduce water waste. Use these tips for more effective watering:1. Clear Your Head(s). Sprinkler heads and nozzles may need to be cleared of debris or replaced if they’re worn out or broken. Look for improved designs in spray heads and nozzles that apply less water more uniformly allowing water to infiltrate instead of simply evaporate or run off. Minimize evaporation, wind, inefficient irrigation methods and systems that create runoff with good systems and good timing.
2. Check the time. Install a fresh set of batteries in the timer and check the programming schedule to water in the cooler, still times of day. Rain or moisture sensors can further reduce over or ineffective watering. According the EPA, ” a home with an automatic irrigation system that isn’t properly programmed or maintained can waste as much as 30,000 gallons of water annually.”
3. Connect well: Check for leaks where heads connect to hoses or pipes. Pooling areas indicate leaks that need immediate repair. A leak about as small as the tip of a ballpoint pen (or 1/32nd of an inch) can waste about 6,300 gallons of water per month.
4. And Remember – have the testable backflow prevention device on the lawn system checked once every five years by a certified plumber. It protects the municipal water supply that serves not only the lawn, but also quenches the thirst of our residents.
Amidst the activity, we ask your help in protecting our water quality and MS4 with appropriate fertilizer application. Fertilizer in water causes large algae blooms, hypoxic (dead) zones in water as it decays, and can be toxic to water supply systems. These consequences are easy to prevent with proper application.
1. Apply during calm dry weather to prevent spread into unwanted areas.
2. Apply as directed – excessive lawn feeding contributes to ground water contamination.
3. Sweep fertilizer back on the grass if it falls on the sidewalk or other impervious surface to keep it out of the storm sewer.
4. Consider grass clippings or compost as natural alternatives.
If there is a layer of salt remaining on the driveway or sidewalk after the ice melts, too much salt got sprinkled. If you find excess sand or salt, sweep it up and throw it away so that it is not washed into the storm sewer.
One teaspoon of salt is enough to contaminate five gallons of water forever. Salts, like the de-icers we use in winter, stay in water without settling out contaminating and damaging the North Platte River and freshwater lakes where we fish.
This web site links to an EPA homeowner’s guide to healthy
habits for clean water that provides tips for better vehicle and
garage care, lawn and garden techniques, home improvement, pet
care, and more.
As warmer weather melts the snow piles around town, the runoff makes its way to the city’s outfalls where the contaminants can be seen. The swirled sheen on the water’s surface is oil that was trapped in the snow. Snow traps oils, salts and sediment that are released into the runoff as the snow melts. Snowmelt runoff is one of largest sources of urban water pollution.
Built in 1918, the Scottsbluff Drain originally intercepted groundwater from farm land northwest of the city and redirected it around the budding city to the North Platte River. The photo from the North Platte Valley Museum archives shows Scottsbluff around 1940. The large building is Scottsbluff High School, now Bluffs Middle School. Northwest of the school’s track is a smaller building where Webber’s Furniture now sits on the north end of Broadway.
Today the drain carries groundwater, irrigation wastewater, and stormwater runoff from the part of the county and the majority of the north and northeast sections of town, as seen in the map from MC Schaff. While the city has grown, the Drain remains the nearly the same almost 100 years later.
1. Scoop snow onto the lawn before it melts and creates an ice layer. It’s the most environmentally friendly for plants, animals, and concrete. Plus there’s the benefit of exercise.
2. No-salt de-icer. If an ice layer does form, scoop the snow to the yard, then employ a no salt deicer to melt the ice layer for easier removal. Look for labels containing magnesium acetate (CMA) which is less harmful to animals and plants. Follow directions on the package for use, CMA is often blended with other ingredients for effectiveness that may become harmful to plants or animals in larger quantities.
3. Salt as a last resort. Salt is highly corrosive, can irritate a pet’s paws or children’s skin, burn the plants it contacts, and leach into the soil. Use salt “Sparingly and Caringly” about .08 ounce, just under a ½ teaspoon, per square foot where there’s high pedestrian traffic. Salts are often listed as chlorides -sodium chloride, potassium chloride, magnesium chloride, or calcium chloride – on deicer packaging.
2016 Wildflower Week is Friday, June 3 – Sunday, June 12
Nebraska Statewide Arboretum serves as coordinator for statewide Wildflower Week activities, bringing together organizations and individuals across the state who recognize the value of wildflowers—not only for their beauty but also for what they imply and symbolize. For more events statewide: http://arboretum.unl.edu/wildflower-week
Thursday, June 2nd
10:00 AM –Noon Great Plants Planting – 2975 Country Club Road, Gering
1:00-3:00 PM: Legacy of the Plains – Plant ID Presentation
Sandra Reddish, Executive Director for Legacy of the Plains