Waterwise Wednesday: National Garden Day

Healthy gardens start with healthy soil.

“Healthy soil contains aggregates that help it bind together, preventing erosion and run-off. It can hold more water, so plants fare better in drought. It contains more bacteria and fungi that help plants fight diseases and pests. And healthy soil also contains more minerals and nutrients that feed plants.” (Rodale Institute.org)

Graphic: USDA

Trickle Down Thursday: April Fools

No Fooling! 193,000,000 gallons of used oil each year. That’s roughly equivalent to 17 Exxon Valdez oil spills. See what else the EPA has to say here: http://bit.ly/34VjkH9

Waterwise Wednesday: Groundwater Recharge

Photo © Dreamstock

Groundwater naturally recharges as rainfall or other surface water infiltrates into the ground. Precipitation falls on the land, soaks through the soil and moves to the water table. Natural recharge can also occur when water seeps from rivers, streams, lakes, and wetlands to the water table. Much of Gering’s groundwater recharge occurs this way from the North Platte River and canal systems.

However, low precipitation this winter means groundwater levels haven’t recharged to typical levels. This makes water conservation more important.

Plan now to conserve water with:
– native plant landscapes
– efficient watering systems set with water saving practices like a drip system set for early morning or late evening watering and moisture sensor to avoid over watering.
– water harvesting practices like rain barrels or directing downspouts to lawn and garden areas
– utilizing indoor water saving techniques like shorter showers, full laundry and dishwasher loads and low-flow faucet taps and shower heads.

Trickle Down Thursday: Construction Sites

The individuals working on a construction site are a first line of defense for our rivers. Fixing leaking equipment, using silt fences and designated construction entrances, and cleaning up as you go can keep your worksite clean. A clean worksite helps keep dirt, chemicals, and trash out of our streets and storm sewers. View the EPA’s guide to federal requirements here: https://bit.ly/2Wsuz4U

Waterwise Wednesday: World Water Day

Most of us take water service for granted – a quick turn of the tap provides clean drinkable water and drains take dirty water to the treatment plant to be cleaned.

Monday, March 22, was World Water Day, dedicated to water related issues like access to clean water, drinking water, sanitation and sustainability.

World Water Day 2021

Illicit Discharge Detection & Elimination: Household Hazardous Waste

Common household products (i.e.. batteries, cleaners, paints, medications, light bulbs) contain heavy metals and/or chemicals that are toxic to aquatic and human life. Don’t just throw them in the trashcan or pour them on the ground; dispose of them properly. Take them to our Household Hazardous Waste Facility or an appropriate disposal site. Click here to learn more: https://www.cleancommunity.org/

Trickle Down Thursday: Groundwater

Groundwater in Grand Island isn’t a new thing. The city was established in the Platte River Valley in the 1860’s; early pioneers noted how high the groundwater was then.

Are you curious about groundwater levels near your property? Head to the Grand Island City Website- https://gis.grand-island.com/maps/parcel/ -our GIS Data & Mapping Viewer has all of our groundwater monitoring wells available at the click of a box. Turn on the Groundwater Layer by selecting the Infrastructure half-full pipe icon in the top right corner. The blue circles indicate monitoring wells; clicking on one will allow you to access the Groundwater Report for that well in the right-hand menu.

Groundwater Reports have statistics for the life of the monitoring well. You can see the record low groundwater level, record high groundwater level, current levels, and the ground elevation for comparison.


Waterwise Wednesday: The Flow’in of the Green

Photo: AP/Jeff Roberson

Since 1962, the Chicago River has been dyed green in honor Saint Patrick’s Day. The Chicago Plumbers Union mixes 40 pounds of powdered vegetable-based dye into a quarter mile stretch of river that stays shamrock green for about 24 to 48 hours.

The dye is a secret recipe the plumbers originally developed to trace leaks in buildings. And, yes, the dye is environmentally friendly for the beavers and 70+ species of fish that live in the river year round.

Illicit Discharge Detection & Eliminiation: Floor Drains

Illicit connections include floor drains. Do you have one in your building? Where does it go? Any floor drain connected to the storm drain needs to be plugged and removed. These drains were popular in the 1970’s and have been putting engine fluids and soapy washwater in our rivers and lakes for decades. These drains are long over-due to be fixed.

Trickle Down Thursday: Sump Pump Summary

Sump pumps are common tools in our area to keep basements dry. They work by acting as a collection point for the clean groundwater around the foundation of your property and then pump the water out into the yard or storm sewer.

If you have a sump pump on your property, make sure you are familiar with your pump. It is a good idea to do basic maintenance twice a year to ensure the sump will work when it is needed.

-Make sure the screen at the base of the pump isn’t clogged with sand or slime.

-Inspect the check valve, remove any buildup, and test it by pouring water into the sump.

-When you pour water into the sump, does it kick on at the correct water depth?

-Consider inspecting the discharge pipe for cracks or clogs to ensure the water is pumped far away from the foundation. Ideally, a discharge pipe should put the pumped water over grass so that it can soak in OR into existing underground storm sewer.

This is a good image of “What not to do

  • Don’t block the sidewalk with a solid pipe
  • Don’t discharge to the gutter. Instead: look for a storm drain, hire a plumber to connect directly into the storm sewer, or discharge on your property into a permeable surface like grass, rock, or a garden

Know that having a sump pump connected to the sanitary sewer is gambling with disaster. The sewer pipe may be close to capacity- your clean ground water could fill the pipe and cause a sewer backup into the closest available outlet: your home drains.

Need a little more instruction? This plumber made a video for sump pump owners: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LAquntA5Ba0.