Falling leaves signal the official arrival of Autumn. Put leaves to good use as insulating mulch in a garden bed, make them into compost, or shred them across the lawn as a natural fertilizer. Left to lie in gutters, leaves quickly clog storm drains leading to flooding in a Fall storm and nutrient pollution as the leaves degrade in the storm sewer. Pile ’em up and enjoy the benefits of leaves next spring!
The coffee ring could be a new test for drinking water quality. Tap water leaves distinct patterns and whorls its dried residue, like a coffee ring. The markers indicate water hardness and alkalinity, as well as the presence of dissolved solids and metals.
Researchers at Michigan State University hope the ‘Coffee – Ring Effect’ will provide an inexpensive and accessible way for people to identify traits in their drinking water.
Photo: Yuto Ooi et al. CC- Modified from http://www.tandfonline.com/…/…/10.1080/14686996.2017.1314776
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.
Permeable pavement allows water to pass through the surface into the ground generating more groundwater recharge, faster melting of ice and snow, and decreasing the amount of water runoff from a property. Porous concrete, porous asphalt, or interlocking pavers are also good for trees whose roots can access the air and water that flow through the pavers.
Photos: (Top) Demonstration of porous concrete. (Bottom) Water runoff comparison of permeable asphalt and standard concrete.
Drip and emitter systems conserve water by regulating volume, velocity, and direction of water flow. Plants can be targeted with a slow steady specific quantity of water using drip tubes or emitters. This prevents over watering and watering where not needed. And the systems are discreet, designed to function effectively while lying under a layer of mulch.
Nebraska is home of Arbor Day, which we celebrate this Friday. See just how much work trees do!
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.
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.
“Rain Barrels” are simple techniques to store rooftop runoff and reuse it for landscaping and other non-potable uses. They are based on the idea that rooftop runoff should be treated as a resource that can be reused or infiltrated. In contrast, conventional stormwater management strategies take rooftop runoff, which is often relatively free of pollutants, and send it into the storm sewer system along with runoff from paved areas.
The most common approach to roof runoff storage involves directing each downspout to a 55 gallon rain barrel. A hose is attached to a faucet at the bottom of the barrel and water is distributed by gravity pressure. For more information on rain barrels please visit:
The implementation of a rain garden into a residential/commercial/industrial lot adds many things. The flowers add a peaceful presence that wasn’t otherwise there. A distraction is welcomed from the usual buildings and roads that are ever-present. A rain garden also improves the quality of stormwater runoff and minimizes stormwater pollution. The purpose of a rain garden is to improve water quality in nearby bodies of water and to ensure that rainwater becomes available for plants as groundwater rather than being sent through stormwater drains straight to the nearest waterway.
For information on rain gardens please click on the links below.