Loading...
March 2014 Water Conservation QuarterlyWater Conservation March 2014 water water management for a sustainable future conservation Lake Oswego www.lowaterconservation.com Keeping the Water Flowing During Major Construction Kari Duncan, Water Treatment Plant Manager 503-635-0394 kduncan@ci.oswego.or.us I’m Kari Duncan, Manager of Lake Oswego’s Water Treatment Plant. My job, and the job of the eight plant operators who work with me, is to reliably supply safe, treated and filtered drinking water to households, businesses, and public safety (such as firefighting). We operate the treatment plant and monitor the water distribution system (pipes, pumps and reservoirs) and water quality day and night, 365 days a year, to ensure your health and safety. Our water system is currently undergoing major construction in partnership with our neighboring city, Tigard, to upgrade and replace our aging infrastructure and ensure a reliable and secure water supply. This project involves constructing a new water intake on the Clackamas River, new water transmission mains, a new water treatment plant, and a new reservoir and pump station. The new system will last several generations. Continued on page 3 Prepping for Spring Can you smell it? Spring is right around the corner. Well, almost anyway. For us spring comes between rain storms. Still there are some things you can be doing outside your house during the breaks between those storms to get your yard ready for the upcoming season. For example, March and April are great months to begin your yard prep and also to get your sprinkler system ready for the inevitable summertime drought. Remember to turn the controller off when you’ve finished - leave the watering to Mother Nature until such time as our rainfall levels drop below our plants’ need. This will usually happen around the middle of May, but regular watering will not become necessary typically until the end of May or the first week of June. Panoramic photo showing construction underway at Lake Oswego's Water Treatment Plant. January 14, 2014. Continued on page 4 2 Water Conservation Plant Du Jour This offering of planting suggestions will differ from those in the past in that we will talk about plants rather than a plant. Currently, European bees are dying off because of a condition called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). As of yet, no one knows what causes CCD - it is as deadly as it is mysterious. Adult bees will just abandon the hive, leaving the queen, food and immature brood behind. They just go away. European honey bees were brought over to this continent about 400 years ago and, like our native pollinators, are also quite adept in their skills. While the European honey bee will typically be found in managed manmade hives, many of our best native pollinators typically do not colonize. It is also important to be aware that pollinators are not restricted to just bees. Moths, butterflies, hover flies, hummingbirds and even beetles are important native pollinators. The two biggest threats to all of our pollinators are habitat loss and lethal pesticides. This year, take a hard look at what is going to be sprayed onto your plants or injected into the soil. Let’s try not to kill the good to rid ourselves of the bad. • Ask your professionals for a list of what is being applied and what it controls. • Ask about collateral damage to other beneficial insects, water and humans. • Ask about alternatives. In addition, I would encourage you to do some research and, this spring, intentionally plant natives that attract pollinators. They not only look good, but require less water and fewer pesticides. It is a project that is fun, educational and easy to do - plus it is beneficial for our city and the surrounding landscape. This year let’s give our pollinators a hand. Below are some websites with information on how you can help • Selecting Plants for Pollinators - A Regional Guide for Farmers, Land Managers, and Gardeners www.pollinator.org/PDFs/PacificLowlandrx8.pdf • Pacific Northwest Plants for Native Bees www.xerces.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/pacificnw-plants-for-bees-xerces3.pdf • Safe Gardens for Pollinators Program https://www.greatsunflower.org/Pesticide%20detection In Wilsonville last year, a pesticide applied to control aphids on linden trees also killed thousands of native bees. Fuel for Thought • Each year more than 17 million gallons of fuel are spilled during the refilling of lawn and garden equipment, or enough to fill 26 Olympic swimming pools. • One gallon of gasoline can pollute 750,000 gallons of water. • Of 30 commonly used lawn pesticides, 19 have studies pointing toward carcinogens, 13 are linked with birth defects, 21 with reproductive effects, 15 with neurotoxicity, 26 cause liver or kidney damage, 27 are sensitizers and/or irritants, and 11 have the potential to disrupt the endocrine (hormonal) system. In addition, 16 are toxic to birds, 24 are toxic to fish and aquatic organisms and 11 are deadly to bees. 3Water Conservation Tips for March/April to help you get your yard ready: • Have your soil tested: Knowing what your soil needs will go a long way in saving you money and protecting the environment by not giving it what it doesn’t need. • Incorporate organics into your lawn and garden. If you must fertilize, use slow release products. These are less toxic to soil organisms and do not transport as easily during rains. • Do not use or allow broadcast spreaders for fertilizer or pesticides as the granules often end up on roads, walks and drives. The next rain or water cycle will put them into the storm system and then into our water ways. • Avoid phosphorous (2nd number on fertilizer, i.e. 16-16-16) unless a soil test has determined your lawn to be deficient. Our area has high levels of naturally-occurring phosphorous. Excesses can create algal blooms and excessive aquatic vegetation that will starve the water of oxygen, killing fish and other beneficial organisms. • Weed and insect control: selective spot treatments are best. Avoid weed and feed products - excesses tend to run off during rains and end up in the streams and lakes. Be sure that what you’re using is being used properly. Remember that pesticide products will kill the good as well as the bad. Look for other options if you can. • Aeration: Very good for the roots of the grass. Remove the cores and top dress with a thin layer of organic mulch after you are done. • Plant natives: This is a great time to start putting in native plants and shrubs as the weather is wet enough typically so as not to need any additional water until the summer. • Observe water flows and drainage: Our frequent rains provide us with a good opportunity to observe how the water is moving off or onto your yard. Observing where flows and pools occur in our yard can help determine if or where adjustments need to be made in the planting scheme. It may show where a rain garden installation would be appropriate and can even illustrate to you where drainage and infiltration problems may need to be tackled. Try to locate the source of the water as well (roof, driveway etc.). Runoff from properties add a significant load to our storm system and anything we can do in the landscape to lessen it is beneficial. • Keep storm drains open: Remove leaf litter and other debris from in front of curb drains, storm drains and other drainage outlets to reduce flooding and prevent erosion. • Sprinkler System: Take some time to operate your sprinkler system zone by zone. Make repairs and adjustments as needed. Be sure the sprinklers are adjusted to keep the water on your yard and not on the neighbor’s yard or the streets and walks. When you are done, turn the controller off. No water will be needed for several weeks. Prepping for Spring More Fuel for Thought • Pesticide products are made of an active ingredient and several inert, or other, ingredients. • Inert ingredients are neither chemically, biologically nor toxicologically inert. • 800 out of 1200 “inerts” are classified as “of unknown toxicity” - 57 as highly toxic due to known carcinogenicity, adverse reproductive effects, birth defects, neurotoxicity and/or other chronic effects, and 64 as potentially toxic. • A study of the United States’ major streams and rivers revealed that 96% of fish contained detectable levels of at least one pesticide. This year, let’s take extra care in what we put on our yards and gardens. Read labels carefully - more is not always better. Be sure that the folks we hire to apply those chemicals for us are using licensed, skilled workers - ask to see a current applicator’s license. Mop up any chemical or fuel spills and dispose of it properly - let’s not rinse everything into the street. These chemicals all carry a risk to us, our families, pets and the environment. We should use them with care. Sources: http://blogs.ei.columbia.edu/2010/06/04/the-problem-of-lawns/; http://www.beyondpesticides.org/lawn/factsheets/facts&figures.php#ix; and Gilliom, R. (U.S. Geological Survey). (1999). (1999). Pesticides in the Nation’s Water Resources. Water Environment Federation Briefing Series Presentation. Continued from page 1 4 Water Conservation 380 A Avenue, PO Box 369 Lake Oswego, OR 97034 General Information: 503-635-0270 Water Conservation Information: 503-675-3747 Keeping the Water FlowingContinued from page 1 During the next two years of construction, we must maintain reliable treatment and distribution of water to Lake Oswego residents and wholesale customers. The new water treatment plant is being built at our existing plant site, which can make operating the plant tricky. It’s a bit like replacing the engine on a moving car. There are several ways we are keeping the plant operating during construction: phasing construction activities, creating temporary water treatment processes, and working closely with plant designers and contractors at every step. Phasing: Construction is being done in three phases, which allows portions of the treatment process to be gradually phased in while older facilities are phased out. Creating temporary processes: In preparation for the first phase of construction (August 2013 - December 2014), our operators installed a temporary corrosion control system so that we could remove the plant’s old system, making way for construction of new facilities. Once this temporary system was online, operators performed a special round of sampling to ensure the new treatment system was working. Results show the temporary system is working properly and water quality meets all regulatory requirements. A second round of testing will occur this spring. 65 Lake Oswego residents have graciously volunteered to help us collect these samples from their home water taps and are serving an important role for our testing program. The filter backwash system also had to be reduced in size during the first phase of construction. Operators use the backwash system to clean the plant’s six water filters, which remove river sediment from the water. The river sediment that is cleaned out of the filters is then pumped into four backwash ponds where the sediment settles out and is dried. Two of the four large ponds are currently being demolished so that a new filter backwash and sediment drying system can be built in their place. Working with designers and contractors: We are working closely with the project designers, construction managers and contractor in order to ensure the new plant can be built around the old one while maintaining operations. It’s all about teamwork. Thanks to your highly-trained team at the water treatment plant, clean and safe water will continue to flow from your tap - even during construction! Check out the Lake Oswego Tigard Water Partnership website for more information: lotigardwater.org. Water Management High 5’s The citizens of Lake Oswego continue to step up to the plate when it comes to managing their water usage. Whether finding and repairing leaks, or incorporating the water management principles taught by utility staff, the water customers of this City have gone from water wasters to water watchers. Reductions in water usage during the growing season, as well as the off season, have been dramatic. Between years 2008 and 2013, water usage in Lake Oswego has dropped an incredible 16% over-all. Inclusive with that reduction of water use is also a reduction in electricity usage of over $100,000 annually. To all of the folks that have reduced their usage, a very high five.