Waterwise Wednesday: Dirty Laundry

Photo © Andrey Bourdioukov

Cleaning synthetic clothes dirties the environment with microfibers according to a study by UC Santa Barbara’s Bren School of Environmental Science & Management.

The microfibers shed during washing and drying then flow in the wastewater to the treatment plant. About 5% of the microfibers accumulate in the sludge which is ultimately used to make compost fertilizer. Smaller percentages are released with treated water back into waterways or landfilled.

Amazingly, that 5% has become,”5.6 million metric tonnes (Mt) of synthetic microfibers emitted from apparel washing between 1950 and 2016, with 2.9 Mt finding their way into waterbodies and a combined 2.5 Mt emitted onto terrestrial environments (1.9 Mt) and landfilled (0.6 Mt),” says the Science Daily article.

According to the researchers, simple cheap solutions can prevent microfiber release at the source. Microfiber filters in dryers, selecting a gentler wash methods, washing clothes less often, and foregoing synthetic fabrics among the list.

For more information see the full article at Science Daily

Waterwise Wednesday: Out of Names

Photo © Publicdomainphotos

A little water trivia today.

Wilfred will be the last named Atlantic hurricane of 2020 given to the low pressure system off the coast of West Africa IF it develops into a cyclone.

If that happens, the Atlantic region will name any subsequent 2020 hurricanes with letters of the Greek alphabet, only the second time since naming hurricanes began in 1953.

The World Meteorological Association (WMO) designates twenty-one tropical storm names for a particular region every year. So far this year, the Atlantic region spawned 20 storms.

Waterwise Wednesday: Fall Tree Tips

Photo © creativecommonsstockphotos

Trees serve as vital parts of our community’s green infrastructure, helping protect our homes from weather elements and extreme temperatures.

Help trees as we go into Fall by applying a 3-4 inches of mulch in a 3-6 foot ring around trees and shrubs. Keep the mulch from touching the tree’s trunk.

Check that trees adequate soil moisture, deep watering as necessary until the ground freezes. Soil should be moist to a depth of about 12-18 inches. Water the entire area underneath the tree’s drip-line if possible.

Don’t fertilize trees now and avoid pruming as trees and shrubs need to harden off before going into winter. If pruning must be done, wait until the plant is dormant.

Good Fall care will help trees flourish and continue to their vital work as part of our community’s green infrastructure.

Waterwise Wednesday: Remember to Rinse Reusables

Just a friendly reminder to wash re-usable supplies to keep them safe and healthy.


– Water bottles should be washed daily inside and out with hot water and dish soap. Remember to wash the jar lip and lid too. Dry thoroughly or air dry to prevent bacteria growth.


– Lunch containers should also be washed daily. Remember to wash the lunch box or sack weekly as they can become easily contaminated with food and liquid. And yes, most foam/softsided lunch sacks can be machine washed and line dried.


– Launder Reusable Grocery Sacks especially after toting meats or other packages which may leak or condensate. Simply machine wash and dry.


– Handbags, Backpacks and Totes get set on a variety of surfaces including floors. Launder regularly to wash out the grime.

Waterwise Wednesday: Waterwise and Fire Resistant

Graphic courtesy of LiveOakWildfire.com

Native plants root deeply and retain water more easily, making them less likely to burn. Its another reason to consider adding more native plant species to your home landsape.

In the 30-feet surrounding your home – the Lean,Clean, and Green Zone of defensible fire space – consider adding native plants and shrubs like coneflower, stonecrop, blue fescue, sumac, cotoneaster. lants located within this 30-foot area should be green and irrigated during fire season.

Graphic: liveoakwildfire.com

Waterwise Wednesday: Wise Watering

Photo © publicdomainstockphotos

We’re in the hot and dry spell of summer here. Water landscapes wisely to help them thrive:

– Only water landscape plants when dry. Plants suffer more from overwatering than underwatering.

– Water the plant’s root zone, not the foilage, to save water and reduce disease.

– Adjust sprinkler heads to water plants, not sidewalks and curbs.

– Set timers to avoid over-watering

– Plan now to install more native shrubs and groundcover plants to reduce water demand in the future.

Waterwise Wednesday: Water Cooling Tactics

Photo © Zhigong Zhang

Try these simple hacks that use minimal water to help keep cool.

1. Cold compress. Refrigerate damp washcloths or sponges then apply to pulse pulse points like wrists, neck, elbows, groin, ankles and/or behind your knees where blood vessels are close to the surface.

2. Ice Fan. Place a shallow bowl of ice in front of a fan. The breeze will pick up cold water from the ice’s surface as it melts, creating a cooling mist.

3. Wet Blanket. Dampen a sheet with cool water, wring well (or spin in the washer) and use it as a blanket. The evaporation keeps you cool through the night. Recommend using a dry towel under your body and/or waterproof mattress pad to avoid soaking the mattress.

4. Wet Curtain. Hang a damp sheet in front of an open window, or fan. The evaporation caused by the breeze on the sheet should cool the room.