ABOUT SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION
Please Note: The Office Will Be Closed in Observance of the Following Holidays in 2023
New Year's MONDAY, JANUARY 2
Martin Luther King Day MONDAY, JANUARY 16
Presidents' Day MONDAY, FEBRUARY 20
Memorial Day MONDAY, MAY 29
Juneteenth MONDAY, JUNE 19
4th of July TUESDAY, JULY 4
Labor Day MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 4
Columbus Day MONDAY, OCTOBER 9
Veterans Day FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 10
Thanksgiving THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 23
Day after Thanksgiving FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 24
Christmas MONDAY, DECEMBER 25
Please note that this is a general informational website. If you have specific questions regarding the watershed, please feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will do our best to respond to your inquiry.
How geomembranes help to improve water quality, lower costs and increase efficiencies in wastewater treatment – Part 2
November 30, 2023
“We forget that the water cycle and the life cycle are one.” Jacques Yves Cousteau
In Part 1: Wastewater Industry in North America,” a brief history of the efforts to deal with wastewater was explored along with estimates of the size of the industry itself. In this post, we will take a look at the current techniques used to manage wastewater which can be considered as three parts: Collection and Equalization, Treatment and Residuals Management.
Collection and Equalization.
With the exception of combined systems, most sewage collection systems are not designed to carry stormwater. Rather, they are sized primarily based on estimates for the amount of wastewater generated per capita which varies between 60 and 100 gallons per day (gpd), with 100 gpd being a common design standard. Most collection systems do, however, carry large quantities of stormwater, in addition to domestic wastewater, resulting in overloaded collection and treatment systems during storm events. Many systems utilize sanitary sewer overflow (SSO) or flow equalization holding ponds/tanks upstream of the wastewater treatment plants (WWTP), or Water Resource Recovery Facilities (WRRF), for hydraulic detention, to prevent release of untreated wastewater.
Typical wastewater treatment processes are classified by level of treatment in three categories which progressively improve the quality of the wastewater:
These processes are physical unit operations such as bar racks and screens which separate coarse solids from incoming wastewater. Without primary treatment, damage can occur to other downstream processes.
Secondary treatment is a broad category and has been the core of most treatment processes since the passage of the Clean Water Act. It consists of physical unit operations such as solids separation and the biological and/or physical-chemical removal of soluble organics in processes which include:
Primary Clarification (also used as a primary treatment process)
Fixed Growth Biological Systems
These categories are broad, and some are often components of others.
While disinfection (various chemicals and processes in addition to chlorine gas) is normally the last step in treatment prior to discharge, it is often considered a necessary process prior to tertiary treatment to prevent biological fouling. Facultative ponds have been known to achieve secondary treatment levels but are not always regulatory permitted as such due at least partially to their lack of operational control. Those impoundments use both aerobic and anaerobic processes for digestion of organic matter.
Advanced or tertiary treatment provides treatment beyond that provided by secondary treatment. It is an often targeted treatment in that it seeks to remove, or alter, specific components. Advanced treatment processes include:
Activated Carbon Adsorption
Reverse Osmosis, Ultrafiltration
Chemical coagulation and clarification/filtration
Some processes can be considered secondary and/or tertiary such as anoxic processes which modify the aerobic levels of activated sludge to achieve both organic reduction and nutrient removal. Natural processes like facultative ponds (aerobic-anaerobic) were followed in technology by fixed growth systems (trickling filters). In the 1960s, activated sludge systems gained popularity due to their larger hydraulic capacity and ability to lower organic and solids contents to secondary treatment standards. Today, activated sludge systems modified to achieve better solids separation, enhanced nutrient removal, lower energy requirements, and other improvements are widely used, often coupled with anaerobic processes.
Solid byproducts are generated by wastewater treatment processes. The largest volumes result from biological treatment and are in the form of high-water content, biologically active solids, or sludges. Further treatment is commonly achieved in an aerobic or anaerobic digester, followed by mechanical dewatering. Anaerobic digestion can also be used to treat the entire liquid waste stream prior to secondary treatment in the case of very high organic loading from certain industries. These digestors typically have floating geomembrane covers.
Geomembranes play a vital role in many parts of the wastewater management system which will be discussed in the next two posts of this series.
CHRISTMAS TREE FARMS IN CENTRAL NEW YORK
From Farm Progress
By Mike & Sheilah Reskovac
This year’s harvest lesson: Patience
We all set goals each year. Goals on when we would like to have our crops planted, when we would like to start an improvement project around the house or farm, and when we would like harvest to be done.
Our goal for harvest each year is to be finished, or very close to finished, by Thanksgiving. When planting season started in April this year, I figured we were off to a good start to reach our harvest deadline by Thanksgiving. Little did I know that just a few weeks later, Mother Nature was going to change that for us.
I’m sure many other farmers also experienced the dry weather in late May and early June. Our corn crop, most of which was planted in the later parts of May, sat in a dry seedbed waiting on moisture for about three weeks.
On June 12, we finally got a little bit of rain, and over the course of the next week, our corn finally emerged out of the ground. Emergence looked rough and inconsistent. Then there were the days and days of haze and smoke from those Canadian wildfires. I didn’t have a whole lot of hope for our crop, but soon the growing season turned around, and it didn’t look half bad.
Soybean harvest was timely, and yields were running above average until we got to the ones that were planted last. Those acres were below average, but our overall yield wasn’t too bad.
The past few years, we have quit switching back and forth between combining soybeans and corn, and instead focus on harvesting all the beans while planting cover crops on our acres. This lets our corn dry in the field a little more, cutting back on drying costs. This also makes everything more efficient at harvest so we can maximize acres harvested per day with the help we have available, since we are not waiting on the grain dryer.
This year has been a little different. Corn harvest started about two weeks after the beans were finished. The husks were brown on the ear, but the stalks were still very green, even after several frosts.
After moisture-testing a few of the earlier-planted fields, we decided to start at the farm that was planted first. I soon found out the moisture tester was off by a little. The corn was probably four points higher in moisture than I thought, and we were harvesting 30% corn! This might not be a big deal to some, but on our farm it is.
Our dryer is not a fan of corn that is wet, and it took nearly three days to dry the 30 acres of corn we harvested. The yield was very good, but I soon realized this wasn’t going to work. Our propane cost to dry corn at 30% was way too high, and Sheilah informed me that I needed to go find something else to do before we turned all our profits over to the propane company.
I talked with a few other farmers who were experiencing wet corn, too. Our grain dryer guy even said that it sounded like we were starting harvest three weeks too soon.
It has been hard to sit around and not harvest while the weather has been nice, but some much-needed projects did get completed around the house and farm during this time. One of those included a new water line to our barn.
We finally harvested a few acres that didn’t have the best access when wet and muddy, and the moisture dropped about five points.
Unfortunately, most of the corn was not harvested until after Thanksgiving. So, the lesson for 2023 was patience. Be patient for the rains, to make the crop grow, and be patient for the time for the crop to be ready.
Good luck in 2024!
November 29, 2023
DEC Announces More Than $1 Million Awarded in Second Round of Community Forest Conservation Grants
Grant Funds Support Municipal Land Acquisition for Community Forests to Advance New York's Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today awarded $1,035,340 in Community Forest Conservation grants to four Capital Region, Hudson Valley, and Long Island towns. The grant program provides funding to communities to protect forest resources of local importance. With this funding, more than 200 acres of community forests will be established and protected from future development.
“Forest Conservation and sustainable management is an essential part of New York’s efforts to tackle climate change and protect water quality while also growing our forestry economy,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “Thanks to continued support from Governor Hochul and the State Legislature, DEC is excited to provide this critical assistance to local governments to acquire and establish community forests, and looks forward to continuing to grow our forests of the future.”
The Community Forest Conservation Grant Program is administered by DEC as part of New York's ongoing efforts to meet Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act goals to conserve forests and combat climate change by increasing the rate of forest protection. The program also supports the goal of New York’s 30 by 30 law – to conserve 30 percent of the state’s land and water by 2030, which in turn contributes to the national 30 by 30 goals set through President Joseph Biden’s “America the Beautiful” Initiative.
Funding for the grant program was provided by the State’s Environmental Protection Fund (EPF), which provides critical funding for environmental programs such as land acquisition, farmland protection, invasive species prevention and eradication, recreation access, water quality improvement, and environmental justice projects. Among the many environmental victories in the 2023-24 State Budget, Governor Hochul maintained EPF funding at $400 million, the highest level of funding in the program's history.
Today’s awarded projects:
OCWA Authority Board Chair Receives Years of Service Recognition Award
John Bianchini served as the OCWA — Central New York’s Water Authority Board Chairman from 2013 – 2023. At OCWA’s monthly board meeting on 11/21/23, he was presented with a recognition award for his years of dedicated service. Mr. Bianchini is pictured with current Authority Board Chair Ken Gardiner.
Check out the 2023 Hodinöhsö:ni’ Art Show and see the featured artwork of the 49 Haudenosaunee artists selected to be in the show. Enjoy holiday shopping from Haudenosaunee artists featured in the Hodinöhsö:ni’ Art Show and at the Ganondagan Gift Shop for handcrafted jewelry, pottery, beadwork, artwork, cornhusk dolls, clothing, books, and more. For this special day, museum admission is free, we invite you to enjoy the NEW exhibit in the gallery and the Iroquois Creation Story film.
Save the date: the Cookie Walk returns Dec. 2nd!
Saturday December 2 from 11:00AM – 3:00PM (or til the cookies sell out!) at Center Ithaca on the Commons
Bakers and shoppers: get thinking about your favorite holiday cookies, because this beloved event will be here before we know it! Interested in baking cookies and/or volunteering at this fun, festive event? Email email@example.com! Details and cookie pre-order form here! See you December 2nd!
Sponsored By Habitat for Humanity
Winter animal care: Tips to keeping your animals healthy and happy during winter months
By Katie Ockert, Michigan State University Extension
Cold temperatures can cause some challenges in small and hobby farm livestock barns, but using some easy techniques you can manage your livestock successfully during the winter months.
Ensuring your animals have access to fresh, clean water is essential to their health. Livestock cannot meet their water requirements by eating snow. Waterers should be regularly cleaned to help reduce the number of bacteria, fecal matter, and other solids that may build up over time and affect the taste of the water. Water consumption is affected by numerous factors such as animal size, diet, productivity, and the season. Dehydration can be fatal to animals.
In the winter, battling frozen water buckets and tanks can be a challenge. By using immersible tank heaters, heated buckets, or automatic waterers, water is kept ice-free, and at a temperature the animal is comfortable drinking.
Products that utilize electricity, such as immersible tank heaters and heated buckets, should be checked with a voltmeter to ensure there is no current running through the water. Any electrical current will deter animals from drinking from the water tank or bucket. By inserting one end of the voltmeter in the water tank and the other into the ground, you will get a reading that will indicate if there is a problem. Make sure to check for electric current often.
North Dakota State University bulletin, “Livestock Water Requirements,” features an easy to use chart for water consumption rates for beef cattle, dairy cattle, horses, sheep, and swine during various stages of development. This tool can help you determine not just enough water for your animals, but also if your animals are consuming enough water.
Water quality will also affect the amount of water livestock will consume. Water quality can be impacted by contaminants such as salts, excessive nutrients, or bacteria. It is important to have your water tested to determine if it contains contaminants that may impact your livestock. In Michigan, testing for private wells is the responsibility of the well owner. Water tests can be done by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy certified laboratory, or your local health department may provide testing.
Most animals need some shelter during the winter months; however, their natural winter coats allow them to endure cold temperatures. Providing shelter or wind breaks that can be easily accessed by animals is key. Humans oftentimes are prone to making the winter environment for their animals too warm, which is unhealthy for animals.
Michigan State University Extension recommends the following factors to consider when evaluating the housing of your animals:
From Successful Farming
By Chuck Abbott
November 30, 2023
Greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture grew 14% in 20 years
Livestock accounted for slightly more than half of the 14% increase in global greenhouse gas emissions by agriculture from 2000 to 2021, said a Food and Agriculture Organization report on Wednesday.
Livestock accounted for slightly more than half of the 14 percent increase in global greenhouse gas emissions by agriculture from 2000 to 2021, said a Food and Agriculture Organization report on Wednesday. The carbon footprint of cattle and sheep was several times higher than the footprint for pigs, chickens, and dairy, when calculated per kilogram of product, said the FAO’s Statistical Yearbook, released on the eve of the UN climate summit.
Agricultural emissions worldwide totaled 7.8 billion metric tons in 2021, said the yearbook. “Around 53% derive from livestock-related activities, and with 2.9 [billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent], the emissions from enteric fermentation generated in the digestive system of ruminant livestock were alone responsible for 37% of agricultural emissions.” The emissions intensity of beef was twice as high in Africa as the world average. Europe had the smallest footprint.
While estimates vary, agriculture is believed to be responsible for a quarter to a third of global greenhouse gas emissions. Some estimates include forestry and other land use. In the United States, agriculture accounts for 10% of emissions, according to the EPA.
The 2023 FAO yearbook said that natural disasters reduce agricultural production by an average of 5%, or $123 billion, annually. Asia, the largest continent, had the highest losses, though its losses were relatively small considering the magnitude of its agricultural output.
“The cost of a healthy diet increased by more than 5% in all regions except Northern America and Europe between 2020 and 2021, reflecting the rise in food inflation,” said the FAO. Four of every 10 people could not afford a healthy diet in 2021.
Agriculture employed 873 million people in 2021, or 27% of the global workforce, compared with slightly more than 1 billion in 2000, or 40%. Between 2000 and 2021, the amount of agricultural land shrank by 86 million hectares (212 million acres), equal to half of the size of Iran, said the FAO. Pesticide use increased 6% during that period; half of it was used in the Americas.
“The global value added generated by agriculture, forestry, and fishing grew by 84% in real terms between 2000 and 2021, reaching $3.7 trillion in 2021,” said the yearbook. “This represents an increase of USD 1.7 trillion compared with 2000.”
WINTER ART MARKET
Shop locally for the holidays inside our greenhouses!
There will be 30+ local art vendors in our greenhouse. Shop pottery, jewelry, apparel, pendulum readings, paintings & more. Enjoy fresh & local food from The Garden Cafe, we will have breakfast items, pizzas, small plates, desserts, NY beer, wine & craft cocktails.
Listen to live music from McArdell & Westers during the market and then join us in the lawn for our annual tree lighting at 4:45 PM!
Find us at 4693 Kasson Road Syracuse NY 13215!
Crazy Daisies Flower Farm
4693 Kasson Rd, Syracuse, NY 13215
In Case of Emergency
In case assistance is needed at an agricultural spill, and it's after office hours (4:30 p.m.) you can call Mark Burger directly at 315-415-5057.
Onondaga County Soil & Water
Our mission is to promote excellence in the wise use of our rural/urban natural resources.
Our vision is to live in a society in which future generations will have natural resources necessary to sustain and enrich their quality of life.
The Onondaga County Soil & Water Conservation District prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or family status.