According to the Chesapeake Bay Program, increased development across the Potomac Watershed has made stormwater runoff the fastest growing source of pollution to the Chesapeake Bay. The non-permeable asphalt that covers our roads and parking lots coupled with the roofs of densely packed buildings in Fairfax County, force rain water and any litter or chemicals into stormwater drains which have outfalls into our streams. The faster flow of water caused by the impervious surfaces also is a major source of erosion.
Here are some suggestions from Recycle Works for individual homeowners to try to reduce the polluted run-off that ends up in our streams and the erosion that this water flow causes:
Replace solid driveways with porous alternatives. Replace solid concrete and asphalt driveways, with pavers, cobblestones, brick and turf stone, all of which will slow down the flow of water and allow it to settle into the ground. Another alternative is using impervious paths for the car tires with green plant material in between. Solid concrete can also be broken-up with decorative and functional paver inlays.
Porous paving or pervious pavement. Pervious pavement is a cement-based concrete product that has a porous structure allowing rainwater to pass directly through the pavement and into the soil at the rate of 8 to 12 gallons per minute, per square foot. This is achieved without compromising the strength, durability, or integrity of the concrete structure itself.
Use dry laid patios and walk ways instead of wet laid. Wet laid patios are set in concrete, which does not allow for any stormwater to be absorbed in that area. In contrast, dry laid patios are set in stone dust, which slows the velocity of sheet flow and allows for some absorption of storm water in that area. An additional benefit for regions that receive freezing temperatures is that dry laid patios will not crack like wet laid surfaces.
Interrupt walkways. Small planting beds and creeping groundcovers, such as thyme, can be incorporated into the edges of walkways and patios. These planted areas will help to slow storm water flow and create a more aesthetic space.
Rain Barrels. Placing rain barrels at the end of downspouts enables collection of run-off water impermeable roofs that can then be used for watering gardens. Note: Due to possible leaching from roof shingles, rain barrel water is not recommended for vegetable gardens.
Decking materials. Treated wood, commonly used for decking, can be replaced with several alternatives. The first, and best alternative, is salvaged lumber. Salvaged lumber has been harvested from previously existing sites and is in good condition. Salvaged lumber can be attained in bulk from salvage shops.
A second alternative to using treated wood is lumber certificated sustainable by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). The Council utilizes region-specific forest-management standards to judge if a particular forest operations is in conformance with FSC standards. A certificate is issued, enabling the landowner to bring product to market as “certified wood,” and to use the FSC trademark logo. This process is at the landowner’s request.
A third option is plastic wood or products such as TREX, which is made from reclaimed plastics and woodwaste. Advantages of plastic wood include thatit will not rot, does not need to be sealed, is resistant to moisture, bacteria growth and graffiti, and cleans up with soap and water. Guide to Plastic Lumber.
Vegetated steps. Utilize groundcovers and moss as the landing surface cover onsteps that are located in low-traveled areas. A solid riser will still be needed to retain the integrity of the step.
Recycled concrete. Use concrete from demolished walkways and driveways to build retaining walls and patios.
Green retaining walls. Build small out-pockets and planters on the sides of retaining walls. Planting these planters with visually interesting material and vines will also help to absorb water and reduce run-off.
Join us for the Grand Re-Opening of Mom’s Organic Market in Herndon, featuring local tastings, henna art and more.
Clean Fairfax is pleased to be in attendance at the grand re-opening of Mom’s Organic Market in Herndon, VA. There will be a Naked Lunch – an all organic eatery featuring soups, bowls and raw juices! Come by and do some grocery shopping, try the local tastings, henna art, and much more. 5% of Grand Re-Opening sales will be donated to Clean Fairfax.
If you would like to volunteer, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We could use a few extra pair of hands, and we have fun things planned throughout the day.
Friday October 23 3 p.m.-6 p.m.
Saturday Oct 24 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Sunday October 25 12 p.m.-3 p.m.
As hungry children stand in line each day for lunch, many school districts across the country are making an effort to serve food that was grown locally. When there was an increase of local food being served, the children ate more healthy meals and threw less food in the trash. Washington, D.C. school districts has been promoting this effort. Other schools across the U.S. are also following this route as well.
Do you love taking pictures, the environment, and wildlife? NVCT is holding a Second Annual Nearby Nature Photography Competition. Up to five photos can be submitted. The deadline is on midnight November 2, 2015. The winners will be announced in mid-November, and prizes will be from local businesses and organizations. Additionally, the winning photos will be included in the next edition of the Stewardship Connection, NVCT’s website, Facebook page, and other NVCT publications. More information can be found here.
Daan Roosegaarde, a Dutch artist and designer has created a stunning glowing bike bath. At night, it is illuminated by glowing pebbles and LEDs, which resembles Van Gogh’s famous Starry Night painting.
The path was created using glow-in-the-dark technology and solar-powered LEDs. The glowing path assists bicyclists stay on track when they ride on night. Similar beautiful environmental glowing paths are also in some parts of the U.K. This might be a new trend that catches on other parts of the world.
Environmental News Roundup – October 14, 2015
BrightFarms, a greenhouse aquaponics developer, has opened its doors to the public in Culpepper County, Virginia. This project has increased the production of local produce and 24 new jobs. Most of our produce comes from California, Florida, Arizona, Mexico, and Canada. This causes the price and travel time of the produce to increase, and the quality to decline. In addition to the aquaponics system, there are interior beehives that assist with the pollination. Since this new project is local to Virginia, D.C., and Maryland, it cuts the time and cost of transportation, while growing produce that is free of pesticides and GMOs.
The Johnie Forte, Jr. Memorial Environmental Education Grant is open to all Fairfax County Public and Private Schools, clubs, and programs that reside in schools. Fairfax County Schools and environmental clubs can earn a grant of $250-$500 to carry out their environmental projects involving sustainability initiatives, litter prevention and control, recycling, reuse, composting etc.
All requests must include an itemized budget. Additionally, they need to be completed by the end of the school year, unless more time is specifically requested. Projects which are awarded grants are invited, but not required to present their program results at SpringFest 2015.
*This grant is sponsored by Clean Fairfax and Fairfax County Recycling Program.
Recently, Lexus reviled a car that is made out of cardboard, and runs on an electric engine. Over the steel and aluminum frame, the car included 1,700 recyclable sheets of cardboard. The team consisted of five people. Together, they came up with the digital design, modeling, laser cutting, and assembly. The car was on display at the Grand Designs Live event in England.
Last October, Yirca, Turkey went through a devastation of many olive trees from a coal company. Late last year, officials declared in court that the destruction of olive groves illegal. In the same village, GreenPeace has installed solar panels electricity systems in the village’s school, mosque, and cemetery. Moving away from the dependency of fossil fuel, now the village can use renewable energy powered from the sun. The installation of the solar panels included the village’s school, mosque, and cemetery. With the help of local people, volunteers from eight different countries, and GreenPeace, the residents from Yirca can enjoy renewable solar energy, and remove dependency from coal.