Waterwise Wednesday: Persistent Perchlorate


Photo © Laura Arredondo

Enjoy the Fourth of July fireworks. And please take time to carefully sweep firework launch and debris landing areas and properly dispose of the debris afterwards.

Perchlorate, a compound used as an oxidizing agent in fireworks (i.e., fuel to make the firework burn), persists in soil and water.

How persistent? Well, Mt. Rushmore National Memorial’s firework shows stopped in 2009. In a 2016 US Geological Survey high levels of perchlorate were still reported in the park – 38 micrograms in a groundwater sample and 54 micrograms/liter in a stream, both in excess of the EPA’s 15 micrograms per liter, and 274 times higher than samples taken outside the memorial park’s borders.

Waterwise Wednesday: The Ultimate Water Filter

Earth’s water cycle constantly refreshes our water supply as it travels through (the basic) phases of precipitation, evaporation, and condensation. We depend on the water cycle to bring us fresh, clean water.

Our water can only be as clean as it’s filters. Damage of soil, air, or ground surfaces also damages the filtration or renewal of water.

Greenhouse gases affects the amount, distribution, timing, and quality of available water which affects our activities like recreation (fishing, hunting, water recreation), farming, manufacturing.

Contaminants left on the surface or in the soil contaminate groundwater as it soaks through the soil, requiring additional filtration for humans to drink.

Every person can help prevent pollution, which helps keep the water cycle flowing smoothly and our water clean.

Image: NASA

Waterwise Wednesday: What’s Your Meal’s Water Footprint?

To grow, process and transport food requires a lot of water. Consequently, eating lower on the food chain, consuming whole foods and wasting less food, also saves water.

To learn more about the water required to produce our food check out the water calculator:

Waterwise Wednesday: The Twelve Wells of Scottsbluff

Twelve wells supply the City of Scottsbluff’s drinking water. We have no need to add chlorine or chemicals because of the high quality groundwater. The wells pump an average 4 million gallons a day to supply residents, businesses, and industry within the City.

Because we rely on groundwater it is important to avoid contaminating our supply. Materials like fertilizers, pesticides, gasoline, oil, road salts and chemicals move through soil and seep into groundwater supplies making it unsafe and unfit for human use. Please preserve our water supply with proper use and care of chemicals, cars, and other substances that can contribute to ground, and groundwater, pollution.

Waterwise Wednesday: Policy Works

Researchers, led by Estelle Chaussard from the University of Buffalo, link ground water recovery in Santa Clara Valley California to the state’s newly instated water conservation efforts—policies that diverted surface water to refill aquifers

In 2013, interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSARa) measured a 2-centimeter decrease in ground-level elevation, followed by another 3 centimeters in 2014. The research team estimates a groundwater loss of about a tenth of a cubic kilometer caused the ground to shrink or lower.

Ground surfaces began to expand and rise in September 2015, rising nearly 2 centimeters over the next two years and were at pre-study levels by the end of 2016. This reflects the same time surface water diversion policy went into effect.

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