Waterwise Wednesday: Rain Barrels

Build a rain barrel in spring to collect and save water for the hotter days of summer. Rain barrels collect about 300 gallons of water for every one inch that falls on 500 square feet of roof. That’s 300 gallons less flowing as runoff picking up pollutants and instead promoting beautiful neighborhoods in later summer when it’s drier. Rain barrels are simple to construct with a 55 gallon barrel, a spigot and a few other small supplies.

For more information:

Rain barrels are a great way to save water and money — and making a DIY rain barrel helps you save even more! Make your own today.
BHG.COM

Waterwise Wednesday: Spring has Sprung and Lawn Work has Begun!

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.

Fertilizing Tips:
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.

Waterwise Wednesday: The Value of a Tree

If one medium sized Austrian Pine in Frank Park works this hard for our community, imagine the value of all trees in our city:
– Overall monetary Benefit $78
– Runoff Prevention in gallons (1,413)
– Storm water Monetary Benefit $38
– Property value total $11
– Energy saved (KWh) 116
– Natural gas savings $14
– Heat Prevention 14 Therms
– Energy Savings $9
– Pollutants removed 1.59 lbs.
– Air Quality Monetary Benefit $4.53
– Carbon stored 270 lbs.
– Carbon sequestered 82 lbs.
– Carbon avoided 195 lbs.
– Carbon Monetary Benefit $2.03

 

Thanks to Amanda Shepperd at the North Platte NRD for sharing this information about our city’s trees.

Waterwise Wednesday: Seeing Salty Sidewalks

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.

Waterwise Wednesday: Turn Your Home into a Stormwater Pollution Solution!

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.

is a first national snapshot of NPS activities underway across the United States and the people who are making it happen
EPA.GOV

Waterwise Wednesday: What’s Hidden in the Melting Snow

Photo by L. Sato
Avenue B Outfall                  Photo Credit:  L. Sato

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.

 

 

Waterwise Wednesday: The Scottsbluff Drain, Then and Now

Scottsbluff circa 1940. Photo courtesy of Platte Valley Museum

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.

 

Map courtesy of MC Schaff & Associates

8

Waterwise Wednesday: Five Things You Should Never Put Down a Drain

Clogs from Fats, Oils, and Grease (FOG) are easily preventable:

  • Don’t pour FOG down the drain
  • Pour cooled fats, oils and grease into a container and put the container in the trash. If you don’t have a container, place tin foil into a coffee cup or similar, add FOG, allow to cool and dispose.
  • Before washing, use a paper napkin or paper towel to wipe FOG from dishes and dispose of it in the trash
  • Use sink strainers to catch food waste
  • Put food scraps in the trash, not through the garbage disposal.

This USA Today video from MSN.com shows a few other substances that should also be kept out of the drain: 5 Things You Should Never Put Down a Drain

 

Waterwise Wednesday: A Tale of Two Sewers

North Platte River, September 2016 by L. Sato

Most cities have two sewer systems: a sanitary sewer and Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4). The sanitary sewer takes dirty water from our home to the wastewater treatment plant where it is cleaned and released to the North Platte River. The MS4 takes rain and snowmelt straight to the river. That’s why we ask residents to help guard storm drains and the MS4 from chemicals, litter, yard waste or pet waste. When substances other than rain or snow travel in the MS4 they directly pollute the North Platte River, degrading water quality not just for us, but all the way across the state.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Waterwise Wednesday: Snow Ordinance

Scooping sidewalks not only provides some fresh air and exercise, it’s also our responsibility. City ordinance requires sidewalks to be cleared by noon the day after snowfall ends (Municipal Code 20-6-20). Preferably, scoop snow onto a lawn or other safe area, not into the street or alley (Municipal Code 20-6-24).