Waterwise Wednesday: The First Flush

The First Flush is the initial stormwater runoff that picks up pollutants as it flows over surfaces. The photos below show what the first flush looks like at two Scottsbluff outfalls.


The swirl sheen indicates oil and grease washed off the roads by the stormwater runoff.
Murky gray water of the first flush carrying sediment, oils, heavy metals and other pollutants.
The clear water on top is clean groundwater that typically flows from this outfall. The murky gray water is first flush stormwater mixing with the clean groundwater as it travels to the North Platte River.

Gering/Scottsbluff Recycle Calendars

Thank you, Tri-City residents for doing your part to reduce, reuse, and recycle materials with our Single Stream Recycling Programs. Here are the 2019 route schedules for Scottsbluff and Gering.

If you’d like to sign for curb side recycling please call:

  • 630-0985 in Scottsbluff
  • 436-7568 in Gering
City of Gering Single Stream Pick-up Schedule 2019
Scottsbluff Single Stream Pick-up Schedule 2019

Waterwise Wednesday: Holiday Pile-up

Holidays often increase water use for meals, laundry, dishes, and bathing which also increases the risk of clogs. If you experience a clogged drain here’s the DIY green tips to try before calling the plumber.

1. Plumber’s snake: A plumber’s snake can be inserted into a clogged pipe to either push or pull through a blockage. Clogs are either pushed or pulled up can then be disposed of safely in the garbage.

2. Vinegar and Baking Soda: Simply sprinkle a little baking soda into the drain, follow with equal parts of vinegar and you will notice it fizzes up, dispersing any fatty deposits. Let sit for 10-15 then follow with a flush of hot water.

3. Plunge it. A change in pressure can often shift a stubborn clog. Create a strong seal round the edge of the plunger. Keep water over the cup of the plunger and move it back and forth a few times. Periodically check to make sure the blockage is coming loose. Then remove and dispose of the clog in the garbage (if it is in a solid lump).

4. Use drain cleaners with chemicals as a last resort. Drain cleaners contain a number of chemicals, including bleaches, lye, caustic soda and sodium silicate. When these substances react with water they can release fumes that cause breathing problems, running eyes or skin irritations. Drain cleaners can also change the pH of water, in turn affecting organisms living in our waterways.

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Waterwise Wednesday: Showstopping Colors

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The showcase of colors and texture – it’s one more reason to plant native. Over the next few weeks, the Panhandle will be transforming into a showcase of rich burgundy, reds, yellows, and tans among flowing seed heads, a sign of Fall in the high plains.

 

Photo: Milkweed seed head at East Overland Entryway by L. Sato

Waterwise Wednesday: Multipurpose Ponds

Did you know the Riverside Park fishing ponds also help manage the city’s stormwater runoff?

The ponds at Riverside Park provide scenic greenspace, recreation, and even food (fish) while safely routing and cleaning our stormwater runoff on the way to the North Platte River. Terrytown and Gering include Terry’s Lake and the water hazards at Monument Shadows Golf Course in their stormwater systems too.

Stormwater travels untreated through the storm sewer, so protecting stormwater runoff from pollutants also protects our public fishing, our scenic water spaces, and our water recreation.

Photo: Riverside Fishing Bridge by L. Sato

Waterwise Wednesday: Nebraska Natives

Our downtown native landscapes serve many functions: to absorb and purify water, stormwater managements, water conservation, beautification, and inspiration. Enjoy these Nebraska native plants from the Guadalupe Center’s pollinator garden.

Image may contain: plant, tree, outdoor and nature
Image may contain: plant, sky, tree, flower, outdoor and nature
Image may contain: sky, plant, flower, cloud, outdoor and nature

Scottsbluff-Gering Wildflower Week Events

Friday, June 8,  10:00 AM – 11:30 AM   City of Gering’s Nebraska Statewide Arboretum site tour.  Meet at Gering City Plaza, 11th Avenue and N Street. Tour stops:  Plaza Project, Monument Heights Island, Legacy of the Plains. Public invited to attend

Friday, June 8, Noon – 1:30 “Imagine the Possibilities”  Green

Team Luncheon.        Past and present Green Team or Greener Nebraska Towns team members are invited to brainstorm future public/private partnership projects and resources in the tri-city area.  Please RSVP to 630-8011 before Wednesday, June 6 if you plan to attend

Friday, June 8, 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM City of Scottsbluff Downtown Project Tour.   Meet at the Downtown Plaza. Tour stops:  Bulb-outs, parking lot rain gardens, Wellhouse 3, Guadalupe Center. Public invited to attend.

Friday, June 8, 4:30 PM  – 6:30 PM  Panhandle Planning Team BBQ @ Peaceful Prairie.  Panhandle Wildflower Week Planning Team to meet at Peaceful Prairie

Friday, June 8, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM Twilight Wildflower Hike at Wildcat Hills with Amanda Filipi.  Meet at Wildcat Hills Nature Center.  Public invited to attend.

Saturday, June 9, 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM  Demonstration planting at Nebraska Pioneer Stadium.   Please call 436-3307 if interested in volunteering.

2018 Wildflower Week Events in Western Nebraska

June 2 near Lewellen. Wildflower Talk and Walk at Ash Hollow State Historical Park at 9am. Meet at the Visitor Center and dress for walking through tallgrass prairie. 308-778-5651, alison.bleich@nebraska.gov

June 3 near Harrison. “Wildflowers 101” talk and walk with a ranger through lowlands, prairie and rocky uplands to see a variety of wildflowers 2-4pm at Agate Fossil Beds National Monument visitor center, 301 River Rd. Trails are open dawn to dusk. agfo_ranger_activities@nps.gov, 308-665-4110

June 7 in Chadron. Western Nebraska Landscape: planting project, water use tour and wildflower presentation.  Meet at 9am at Chadron State College Range Land Lab, wear gardening togs and sunscreen; ends at noon. lmays@csc.edu

June 8 near Gering. “Wildflower Walk in the Wildcats” 7pm at the Wildcat Hills Nature Center, 210615 Hwy 71, Gering NE 69341. ngpc.wildcat.hills@nebraska.gov , 308-436-3777

June 8 in Gering. Tour of municipal landscapes 10-11:30am starting from Gering City Plaza, 11th Street and N St. 308-436-6834, pheath@gering.org

June 8 in Scottsbluff. “Imagine the Possibilities” brainstorming session with past and present Green Team or Greener Nebraska Town members from 12-1:30pm at Monument Shadows Grill.  Please RSVP by June 6.  308-630-8011, lsato@scottsbluff.org

June 8 in Scottsbluff. Tour of downtown landscapes from 2-3pm starting from 19th & Broadway. 308-630-8011, lsato@scottsbluff.org

June 10 near Harrison. “Wildflowers 101” talk and walk with a ranger through lowlands, prairie and rocky uplands to see a variety of wildflowers 2-4pm at Agate Fossil Beds National Monument visitor center, 301 River Rd. Trails are open dawn to dusk. agfo_ranger_activities@nps.gov, 308-665-4110

June 14 in Ogallala. During the Summer Concert Series, the 2nd street bump-outs with wildflower planters between Spruce and East A will be highlighted; concerts are in Rendezvous Square on East 2nd.

 

 

 

 

Waterwise Wednesday: Managing Stormwater Runoff

While it’s unusual to get the amount of rain we had two weeks ago, it does remind us to take some flood precautions.

1. Basement windows or doors are common storm water entry points and should be sealed against leaks. Clear plastic covers or window wells that extend above ground level can help. Ideally, window and door sills should at least a foot above ground level.

2. Slope the yard away from the foundation to prevent water from pooling near the house and leaking into the basement. Create a rain garden or low basin landscaped with shrubs and flowers to encourage water to soak into the ground.

3. Eliminate paved surfaces where possible and consider alternatives that allow water to soak into the ground. Consider porous concrete or porous pavers for driveways. Gravel or woodchips for walking paths.

4. Aim downspouts toward the lawn and away from the foundation and paved surfaces. Consider using cisterns or rain barrels to catch rainwater for watering lawns and gardens in dry weather.

Photo: Creative Commons

Waterwise Wednesday: Spring Sprinkler Tips

Consider these tips from conserveh20.org as you prep the sprinkler system for the season for effective and efficient watering.

 

1. Look for signs of leakage, especially damage to sprinkler heads or piping which could have occurred over the winter. Repair and replace as needed.

 

2. Look for accurate spray patterns. Adjust your sprinkler heads so they water your landscape and not sidewalks or pavement. Also make sure their spray isn’t blocked by plants or other materials.

3. Clean clogged nozzles and sprinkler heads.

4. Install a rain sensor. Rain sensors are designed to shut off sprinkler systems when rainfall reaches a preset amount, usually 1/4 inch. Once the moisture level subsides, the sensor re-enables the sprinkler system, resuming the previous watering schedule. Rain sensors should be mounted in an unobstructed area exposed to open sky – minimizing the potential for fallen leaves or other debris from blocking the sensor.