Nebraska Rainwater Harvesting
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  • 1. Rain Barrels: Just Add Water! City of Lincoln, Watershed Management Division Amanda Meder, Environmental Health Educator Ben Higgins, Senior Engineer
  • 2. City of Lincoln The City of Lincoln Watershed Management Division Watershed Management is a division of City Public Works and Utilities DepartmentResponsibilities include:Managing stormwaterReducing flood hazardsImproving water quality of stormwater runoff
  • 3. Why?• Clean Water Act 1972 – Federal law enacted to regulate/reduce water pollution. CWA is administered by the US Environmental Protection Agency, whish is administered by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (in our state). – Permits issued to take care of point source pollution (pipe discharge into a body of water) – Nothing done to address non-point source pollution (stormwater runoff)• Water Quality Act of 1987 – Federal law began to require municipal separate storm systems to obtain permits to regulate the quality of non-point source pollution (stormwater runoff) – City of Lincoln, NE obtained a permit in 2002 – Improving water quality is a group effort; part of the permit requires public education and public participation – We got creative.
  • 4. Best Management Practices• Alternative stormwater management practices, which are intended to reduce runoff, flooding, soil erosion, and pollution of streams and lakes.• These management methods include: – Bioretention cells – Filter Strip – Vegetated Swale – Green roof – Pervious Pavement – Rain Gardens – Rain Barrels – Wetland – Native Vegetation – Infiltration basin, planter, or trench – Riparian Buffer – Reducing Phosphorus Fertilizer Use
  • 5. Current Educational Focus No Phosphorus Fertilizer Rain Barrels Rain Gardens
  • 6. What is a Rain Garden?A rain garden is a garden of native shrubs perennials, and flowers planted in a small depression, which is generally formed on a natural slope.A rain garden is a water quality feature designed to capture runoff fromindividual properties, allowing the water and the pollutants it carries to infiltrate the soil at its source, instead of entering the storm drain untreated.
  • 7. Rainwater Runoff • According to the EPA, 70% of water pollution is non-point source (runoff). • Rainwater runoff carries: Lawn fertilizers Garden chemicals Pet waste Automotive chemicals Debris . . . into the stormdrain systemHigh amounts of rainwater runoff also contribute to stream bank and shoreline erosion
  • 8. Why is the City of Lincoln Promoting Rain Gardens?• Improves water quality by filtering out pollutants at the source – Excess lawn chemicals are used by the plant root system and filtered out as they travel through the soil layers.• Decreases pollution from your property up to 100% – A Rain Garden that is built effectively and large enough will capture all the runoff leaving your property.• Provides localized stormwater control – Planting a rain garden reduces the amount of water entering the storm drain system• Provides habitat for insects, birds, and butterflies• Easy to maintain after establishment• Aesthetically pleasing
  • 9. Rain Gardens (in 1st year) Rain Gardens Before After Lincoln Christian School
  • 10. Current Rain Gardens Lower Platte South27th and F Street Parking Lot Natural Resource District Havelock Parking Lot 63rd & Platte
  • 11. Rain Garden Construction Cost Factors Time Cost: Designing and planning the rain garden Digging, 4 to 8 hours typically Financial Cost: Type and amount of plants chosen Amount of soil amendments needed Do-it-yourself cost: $2-3 per square footHire a contractor cost: $9-12 per square foot
  • 12. NO/LOW PHOSPHORUS FERTILIZER
  • 13. No/Low Phosphorus Fertilizer Most soils in Eastern Nebraska contain more than enough phosphorus and potassium for healthy plant growth City Private Fertilizer Runoff
  • 14. No/Low Phosphorus Fertilizer Most soils in Eastern Nebraska contain more than enough phosphorus and potassium for healthy plant growth City Private Fertilizer Runoff
  • 15. No/Low Phosphorus FertilizerToo muchphosphorusfertilizer runsoff property 1 pound of phosphorus can produce over 300 pounds of blue-green algaeduring rainstorms and intostorm drainsleading tonearby pondsand streams
  • 16. No/Low Phosphorus FertilizerExcess fertilizer inwaterways causes toxic algae blooms, excess plant growth, decreased available oxygen for aquatic life, and fish kills
  • 17. No/low Phosphorus Business Decal •Lake Friendly Fertilizer decal, was given to businesses who sell no phosphorus, slow release, and pesticide free fertilizer Look for this decal on the front door of local retailers!
  • 18. Rain BarrelsA rain barrel is an above groundbarrel modified to receive, store, and distribute rooftop runoff for non-potable uses. One ½ inch rainfall on 160sq ft of roofwill fill a 55 gallon barrel!
  • 19. Rain Barrel Benefits •Rain water is naturally soft, oxygenated, and more acidic than tap water. •Rain water is free of chlorine, fluoride, salts, and other minerals from tap water. •Saves water for dry spells. •Reduces runoff and stormwater pollution. •Can reduce your water bill in the summer.The rainwater collected can be used to water lawns andgardens or wash cars and bicycles. A rain barrel canpotentially save homeowners a significant quantity ofwater during peak months.
  • 20. Rain Barrel Installation Cost Factors Type of barrel: plastic, wooden, etc. Size of barrel: 50gal-250gal Amount of time to build and install Aesthetics of barrel Cost to buy, already assembled: $150-300Cost to build and assemble on your own: $10-70 (Average size 55 gallons)
  • 21. City of Lincoln Watershed Management DivisionRain Barrels: Let’s Begin!
  • 22. City of Lincoln Watershed Management Division Rain Barrel DiscussionWhere did these barrels come from?-Wis-Pak in Norfolk, NE -Cost: $9 -Contact: Terry Ralston at 402-379-2111 or ralstont@wis-pak.comAnother source-Dick Miller (aka Trader Dick) on 5110 Star St. Lincoln, NE - Cost: $10 - Contact: 402-464-5285
  • 23. City of LincolnWatershed Management Division Rain Barrel DiscussionWhat to do about downspouts?
  • 24. City of Lincoln Watershed Management Division Rain Barrel Demonstration Drilling and Cutting (Luckily for you, we did this to your barrel already!)-Watch carefully, because you may be thinking of getting another rain barrel after the spring rains
  • 25. City of Lincoln Watershed Management Division Rain Barrel AssemblyParts you should have:- 2 cans of spray paint- 1 pvc threaded adapter- 2 pvc pipe elbows- 1 brass spigot- 1 large metal clamp- 1 round green grate- 1 wire mesh square(if you are missing one of these- please let me know!)
  • 26. Rain Barrel Assembly• Step 1: Set aside spray paint• Step 2: Spigot – Part needed: 1 brass spigot• Step 3: Rainwater Entry – Parts needed: 1 wire mesh square, 1 green grate, 1 large metal clamp• Step 4: Overflow – Parts needed: 1 pvc threaded adapter, 2 pvc elbow, 1 pvc pipe, (Optional: discharge hose, 1 small clamp)• Step 5: Optional Connection – Parts needed: 1 pvc threaded adapter, 1 pvc cap• Step 6: Discuss winter care, cleaning, mosquito maintenance
  • 27. QUESTIONS ?? t: ks ge loc or b !For more information on t f er ut n’ nd water quality issues or o i o how you can improve D c 2 w ay water quality, please visit ke the lincoln.ne.gov, keyword Ta on “watershed”Contact Amanda Meder at 441-7075 or ameder@lincoln.ne.gov