Are you a multi-tasker? Clean your car, water your lawn, and prevent water pollution – all at the same time! The ground filters detergents and dirt while the lawn soaks up the water, keeping soaps and sediment out of the storm drains. And out of our waterways. Washing your car on the lawn is a great way to multi-task.
Memorial Weekend officially launches summer fun season which often includes water games and activities. The water doesn’t have to go waste. Play water games on the lawn or in the pool so that the aftermath simply waters the lawn fills or trickles back to the pool.
Keep water from evaporating or blowing in the wind by using a sprinkler that produces large drops of water and send droplets out at a low angle. Adjust sprinkler heads as necessary, to avoid waste, runoff and ensure proper coverage.
Rain gardens capture and infiltrate runoff from roofs, driveways, and other impervious surfaces. Rain gardens not only recharge groundwater supplies, but also clean out pollutants, create pollinator habitat, increase property value, and provide year round visual interest for your home.
Check out this interactive rain garden animation from UNL extension.
Nebraska is home of Arbor Day, which we celebrate this Friday. See just how much work trees do!
The first flush is the initial runoff from a storm and tends to carry a higher concentration of pollutants compared to later in the storm. Common contaminants picked up in the first flush include:
– sediment from roofs
– yardwaste, animal waste, fertilizers, pesticides and de-icing compounds from driveways and yards
– brake dust, tire residue, heavy metal and trash from street surfaces
Simple ways to reduce the concentration of pollutants in the first flush include using lawn chemicals as directed, biking or walking more and creating landscapes that promote natural infiltration.
Graphic courtesy of cleanwatercampaign.org
Please enjoy this tribute to waterworks from the Water Environment Federation (WEF)
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.
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:
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.