For many people, taking care of the environment is common sense. It’s also required by law.
Scottsbluff operates under the National Pollution Discharge and Elimination System (NPDES) Phase II Municipal Separate Storm Sewer (MS4) General Permit. The permit
encompasses six general areas:
– Public Education and Outreach
– Public Involvement
– Illicit Discharge, Detection and Elimination
– Construction Stormwater
– Post-construction Stormwater
– Good Housekeeping/Pollution Prevention for Municipalities
The city’s stormwater surcharge not only pays for MS4 infrastructure but also the programming that educates residents and become active in pollution prevention and preserving water quality.
Photo: Scottsbluff outfall SO-164 in June.
It’s mid-summer, Panhandle temperatures rise and both the landscape and drought map begin to turn yellow and gold. According to the Drought Monitor, Scotts Bluff County is now experiencing abnormally dry conditions.
The water we use now greatly affects the supply we have in the future – especially if drought conditions spread and continue. Scottsbluff’s water system relies on groundwater pumped through wells, instead of surface water, which replenishes very slowly. Dry or drought conditions cause less regeneration of the ground water supply. Please use water wisely and conservatively.
It’s nearly July and the gardens are green and full of early summer blossoms – using just rainwater.
Late last week the City of Scottsbluff finally turned the water on the downtown gardens, about three months after lawn watering began around the city. Native and well adapted plants use much less water than traditional turf once established. They’re also drought hardy, provide needed habitat for pollinators and create a distinct sense of place with a plant palate tailored for the Nebraska Panhandle.
Cross-connections are actual or potential connections between safe drinking water (potable) supply and a source of contamination or pollution. The submerged hoses in the photos illustrate a direct cross connection between non-potable water and your drinking water.
A loss of pressure like a water main break or system repair in the public water system or running too many in-house water sources at once (think shower, washer, dishwasher, and sprinkler system all at the same time) can cause backsiphongage. This loss of pressure creates a siphon effect in the plumbing system which can draw water out of a sink, bucket, or pool and back into your water or public water system.
Cross-connections must be properly protected or eliminated to protect the city’s drinking water supply from backsiphonage or backflow. In this case, either remove the hoses from the pool or barrel or install a hose connection vacuum breaker on the faucet.
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.
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
5:00 -7:00 PM Charlie Fenster Memorial Tree Planting – East end of Northfield Arboretum Postponed until Fall (as of 5/20/2016)
Friday, June 3rd
- 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM Downtown Arboretum Tour, Public Invited. Meet at Lot 3, Across from West Nebraska Arts Center
- 11:00 – Noon @ Godfathers The Garden Coffee Break – with Bob Henrickson and Justin Evertson, Nebraska Statewide Arboretum
- Please arrive a few minutes early to get your buffet meal and proceed to the meeting room
- 30 minute NSA presentation
- 30 minute tour of Well House
- Aulick’s TLC
- 3:00-4:00 pm –Aulick’s TLC Great Plants for the Great Plains Planting Demonstration – a discussion of plant choices and placement to help add western beauty to the home landscape. Outdoor activity.
- 4:00-5:00 pm: Landscape and Garden Plants for Pollinators and Beneficial Insects: Walk the greenhouse to learn how different plants attract pollinators and other beneficial insects.
- 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM Wildcat Wildflower Nature Hike with possible Shooting Range Plant Demo
Saturday, June 4th
- 9:00 AM – Noon Chadron State College planting project, 1000 Main Street. Contact: Lucinda Mays at email@example.com
- 1-2pm campus tour, 1000 Main Street. firstname.lastname@example.org
Comments Wanted on New Construction Storm Water Permit
On Friday, March 25 the draft for the new Construction Storm Water (CSW) Permit was sent to EPA to start the 90 day review period, following which will be the formal public notice period. Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality is requesting initial comments and feedback before the permit goes out for public notice. Any responses are appreciated before Monday, May 16th.
A summary of changes is inlcuded here: NDEQ CSW General Permit_Fact Sheet
The permit draft may be reviewed here: NDEQ CSW_General Permit
Policy changes to the permit include:
- All forms must be submitted electronically on the NDEQ website. Paper forms for NOIs, CSW-Transfers, and NOTs are no longer accepted.
- Oil and gas field activities or operations will now require a permit.
- Coverage of existing permits has been extended from 90 to 180 days before reapplication is needed under the proposed general permit.
- Permit numbers have been changed to correspond with anticipated issue year.
Responses can be sent to either Emma Trewhitt, NPDES Permits and Compliance Unit or the permit writer, Patrick Ducey. Emma can be contacted at Emma.Trewhitt@nebraska.gov or 402-471-8330. Patrick can be reached at email@example.com or 402-471-2188.