What can YOU do about Groundwater Flooding?

In the Grand Island area, high groundwater has long been a fact of life. First documented when the settlers arrived, the City started monitoring the groundwater levels in the late 1960’s. In some ways, it is an asset: it provides our drinking water and can be utilized to create beautiful lake-front properties. Unfortunately, many basements were built below the groundwater table, leaving some property owners with a constant source of concern.

The fastest, often least expensive step to prevent water in your home is to make sure that your landscaping is directing all stormwater away from the foundation of your home. Extend downspouts, re-slope your landscaping, plant trees where available to drink in the water. This doesn’t address groundwater but it does keep the rain from adding to your troubles.

If you have water in your basement and your neighbor doesn’t, consider the depth of your basement. The depth of just one cement block (generally 8″) can mean the difference between a dry basement and a lengthy refinishing project. Some people with enough ceiling clearance might consider filling in a few inches of their basement.

Not ready to fill in your basement? Unfortunately, the most effective way to keep groundwater out of your home is to invest in a drainage or pump system. These systems are costly and there is no guarantee they will keep your property dry. Some companies try to sell you the moon so take the time to shop around, get quotes, and educate yourself before committing to purchasing a system. Once installed, remember to perform regular maintenance on your system to ensure continued protection.

Last- remember that our stormwater system is separate from our sewer system. Discharge any clean water that may be pumped out of your basement into the stormwater system. Connecting your sump discharge to your sewer line is flirting with danger- you could cause a sewer back-up in your own home at any time.

Trickle Down Thursday: Groundwater

Groundwater flows under all of Grand Island in a slowly moving river. This hidden resource follows the path of the Platte from southwest to northeast. It refills the Platte and Wood Rivers when the surface water is low and can draw from the rivers when surface water is high. Groundwater also feeds many of the waterbodies around town: L.E. Ray Lake, Suck’s Lake, Pier Park, Eagle Scout Park, Brentwood Lake, Rainbow Lake, Kuester Lake, and Hidden Lakes.

Groundwater levels are influenced by land elevation, rainfall, irrigation, pumping, river depth, and well use. Since the City began monitoring groundwater depths in 1967, groundwater has been shown to rise and fall in cycles. Depths have ranged from less than 5 feet to 30 feet below the surface.

Trickle Down Thursday: Groundwater

Groundwater in Grand Island isn’t a new thing. The city was established in the Platte River Valley in the 1860’s; early pioneers noted how high the groundwater was then.

Are you curious about groundwater levels near your property? Head to the Grand Island City Website- https://gis.grand-island.com/maps/parcel/ -our GIS Data & Mapping Viewer has all of our groundwater monitoring wells available at the click of a box. Turn on the Groundwater Layer by selecting the Infrastructure half-full pipe icon in the top right corner. The blue circles indicate monitoring wells; clicking on one will allow you to access the Groundwater Report for that well in the right-hand menu.

Groundwater Reports have statistics for the life of the monitoring well. You can see the record low groundwater level, record high groundwater level, current levels, and the ground elevation for comparison.


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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