Monday, March 30, 2015

Over 80 students,  fifth graders from Lake Superior Elementary  and fourth and fifth graders from Four Corners Elementary, attended a Superior Water Fair this morning at the Mariner Mall.  The Water Fair was organized by the City of Superior Environmental Services and included 10 learning stations.  Stations included guests from  Lake Superior Research Institute, Natural Resources Research Institute, Iron River Fish Hatchery, Master Composters, Regional Stormwater Protection Team, Lake Superior Research Institute and community volunteers.    Playing Lake Superior Jeopardy, sorting fish into their micro-habitat hideouts, and calculating water use for the total number of showers per year and the gallons of water saved in a year by a shorter shower, viewing benthic macroinvertebrates, sorting waste into where it should go (medicine to the police station, household hazardous waste to the proper disposal location and recycling, testing water samples for water quality, seeing how rain causes stormwater to pick up pollutants from the land, and learning how a fish hatchery breeds fish and prepares for the stocking of area lakes and learning about aquatic invasive species were all part of the morning’s activities. 

The fair ended with a visit by Adam Clark, meteorologist from KBJR, and he talked the water cycle and forecasting weather.  He also created a cloud in a bottle. 

This is the 3rd year for the fair that has included two schools in Superior at a time. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Impaired Waterbodies of Wisconsin.

The US EPA has a website that has a searchable database to look up different water bodies in the state of Wisconsin.

The database includes the TMDL (total maximum daily load) for a given material into a waterbody.  Some streams and rivers are impaired due to too much of something entering the system.

Mercury TMDLs are being developed.   Fish advisories are in place.

In our neck of the woods the St. Louis River is the main body of water of concern. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Erosion Control

We are just back in from the Minnesota Erosion Control Association Conference.  It was held at the DECC in Duluth the last 3 days.  Great workshops and a whole team of people learning and sharing about ways to help keep water clean by helping keep soil in its place.
We also learned about phosphorus coming from leaves that fall off trees in the fall, stream geomorphology and tools that people use to restore streams.   The importance of compost, the importance of planning for projects - including having plans for well beyond the time activity occurs at a site (mine reclamation), and also ways cities can fulfill permit requirements through training staff and local businesses that might be a source of polluting activities (such as restaurants with grease).  The city of Duluth gave a presentation on recovering after the 2012 flood - pictures showed how intense and changing the high water flow had on numerous streams.  Woody debris - even whole trees - were swept in the streams and blocked culverts.  Stream banks had considerable erosion creating the reddish plume in Lake Superior that lasted for weeks.  Repairs have been made to roads that suffered from water damage and plantings have been put in some of the main disrupted stream banks.  Restoration continues.

An exhibitor area had products ranging from native plant landscaping to products to use to make permeable pavement areas to engineering places that have products to insert in storm drains.  Above ground and below products and learning better management and education outreach reduce pollutants and sediment from entering our local waterways. 

Here is the link to the event
This was the first year MECA held their conference in Duluth. 
Thanks for bring the conference up north to advance the area's knowledge and techniques with controlling erosion.

Here is a link to the WI DNR with more stormwater and erosion control practices.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Since a year ago

Thanks to those who have Liked us on Facebook and subscribed to our Twitter messages.  Our social media outreach is increasing - tripling since last year at this time.  More are welcome.  If you're reading this blog, perhaps you'd like to go to SuperiorESDPW on Twitter or Facebook.

More options for disposal of unwanted medicines

We have been directing you to the Superior Police Department in the Government Services Building at 1316 N. 14th St. and the green dropoff box in their lobby as the place to dispose of unwanted medicines.   This program began in late fall 2012.  Here is more information on the program.

See the green dropoff box?  It's in the lobby of the Superior Police Dept. ready to receive unwanted medicines.  No information is required when you do a dropoff to the box.  

Do not flush
unwanted meds as the wastewater treatment plant may not be able to remove the materials.  The drugs would then go out into the St. Louis River estuary and bay into Lake Superior. 
The drugs are then brought to a medical incinerator in Minnesota.

Another option besides police departments for disposal of unwanted drugs.
It's called Yellow Jug Old Drugs. 

In Superior, two places are participating: Essentia Clinic, at 2202 E. Second (near the new SuperOne) and 3500 Tower Ave.  Old meds can be dropped over there.  Here is more information about the program.  The drugs are then brought a waste to energy facility.