Quinn’s Pond – Success Story

Quinn's PondThere are too many examples of polluted waterways and lakes in the news. However, it is nice to see a success story now and again. Quinn’s Pond in Boise, Idaho is one such place.

Years ago, Quinn’s Pond was a body of water that had been polluted beyond all comprehension. It had been affected by dumping of debris and industrial waste. However, as part of a recent beautification project, the pond and surrounding park have been cleaned up. Cleaned up enough that people have returned to swimming and fishing in the pond.

The pond was named after Bernardine Quinn who moved to the city around 1910.

The city of Boise undertook the cleaning of the pond and park, but underestimated the amount of clean up that needed to be done. A lot of contaminates were removed and the total bill wound up being close to $6.5 million.

While the price tag for this project was expensive, the city was able to restore the land and prevent any of the contamination from reaching the nearby river. This helped to prevent a very expensive problem down the road. So, not only was this good for the citizens who use the park, but it made good financial sense as well.

Personally, I think there are more success stories out there than most of us are aware of. The problem is those kinds of articles don’t sell newspapers or draw website clicks. So, the old news adage of “If it bleeds, it leads: still holds true. Only the negative will get any press coverage.

Don’t lose hope! All of us – regardless of political leaning – are making the earth a better place to live. My hat is off to the city and citizens of Boise!

Water Usage Around the Home

Woman Brushing Teeth

We can all agree that water is a precious resource that all forms of life need to survive. We can disagree on what are the best actions to take to preserve our water resources, and what, if any, amount of government regulation is needed.

However, instead of arguing about things we may disagree on, lets focus on things that make sense to all of us. One of those things is preventing waste.

If we can reduce the amount of water we waste without harming our lifestyles, isn’t that something we can all get on board with? I think so, and I daresay you might just agree.

So, let’s take a look at how we can reduce water waste around our homes.

Leaks

This should go without saying, but if there are any leaks around your home, fix them. Not only does this reduce wasted water, it can also save you money on your water bill.

Water Hose Leaks

If you are like most people, you have need of a water hose. It may be for washing the car, watering some tomato plants or cleaning your windows.

If you have water leaking around the joint where you attach the hose to the spigot, you are not alone. Most people see a bit of wasted water here. Fortunately, there is a quick fix: plumbers tape.

For less than a single dollar, you can pick up a spool of PTFE tape at your local hardware store. This is very thin “tape” (its not sticky like real tape) that wraps around the male threads of a hose connection. After applying the tape, just screw on the hose like normal.

That’s it – the leak is completely gone!

Brushing Teeth

This one is pretty simple and free. When brushing your teeth, turn off the tap. Again, this is something that conserves water but also saves you money.

Shaving

If you are a man, shaving is likely part of your daily activities. If you have a small basin of hot water, you can use that to rinse your razor instead of using running water. This does mean you have to have a basin in the bathroom, so there is a slight amount of additional work. But, it can save money and water.

Shaving (part II)

Another good way to save water and money while shaving is to move to an electric razor. Modern razors are very power efficient, so they are not likely to impact your electrical bill in any meaningful way. However, using one can save a lot of water waste.

Beard Grooming

If you are fortunate enough to work in a job that does not require you to shave, you may be sporting a beard. Beards are good, and generally do not require a lot of water use to maintain. However, you still need to wash your beard. The longer the beard is, the more water it will take to properly clean it. Consider using a really good beard trimmer to keep it at a shorter length and needing less water when washing.

Look for Efficiencies When Upgrading

It would be great if everyone could run out and buy the most efficient appliances on the market right now. That is not realistic. Instead, keep efficiency in mind when it is normally time to upgrade. More efficient appliances save both drinking water and your wallet.

For example, my wife and I needed a new washing machine recently. So, we shopped around and found the most efficient unit in our budget that got excellent reviews in Consumer Reports. We have saved a noticeable amount of money on our monthly bill, but it would not have been cost efficient to replace our old unit had it been working properly. But, as a normal part of the replacement process, it simply makes sense to get the most efficient possible.

Outdoor Watering

It is not reasonable to say “don’t water your plants or lawn” and to suggest everyone re-landscape their properties. That said, look for ways to reduce the need to water such as:

  • using mulch – It keeps moisture in the ground and improves the soil.
  • include short plants and ground cover plants in areas where you have trees – Like mulch, these plants can help keep moisture in the ground and prevent erosion.
  • consider the use of swales in your landscaping – Swales can literally turn the desert into a food forrest. Check out additional information on them here.

Best and Worst Beaches for Water Quality

fort desota park

Water quality is something we often talk about as it relates to drinking water. However, the quality of our waterways is also important. Pollution can kill fish and other animals, and make the water toxic to humans that might use it recreationally.

The Natural Resources Defense Council is an advocacy group that pushes for clean water standards and other protections on our water system. One of the things the group does is to publish a list of the best, and the worst, beaches in America using water quality as the judging criteria.

Travel magazines may rate a beach based on its looks or activities, but if you can’t get into the water because it has been poisoned, what’s the point?

Here are some of the best beaches in the United States:

There are also a number of beaches with very poor water conditions. At the time of the study, the NRDC found these to have some of the worst water quality:

  • Malibu Pier – California
  • Cockle Cove Creek – Massachusetts
  • Beachwood Beach – New Jersey
  • Main Street Beach – New York
  • Wright Park – New York
  • Ontario Beach – New York
  • Arcadia Beach – Ohio
  • South Shore Beach – Wisconsin

Hopefully, the beaches that are on the naughty list have been improved – or are making progress toward improving. I can only imagine being stuck in New York and not even being able to enjoy the beaches. I guess that’s reason #637 that I live in Georgia.

For what it is worth, I’ve spent time on Tybee Island, and the beach there is very beautiful. The water is clear and the sand white. I highly recommend it for anyone who needs to get away for a while.