The Water/Wastewater Department maintains water and sanitary sewer utilities.  The department operates and maintains the public water supply system including the water treatment facility, hydrants, city wells, and water storage facilities, and installation and maintenance of water meters; and the wastewater collection system include lift stations.

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Conservation

Water Conservation Tips

5 Basic ways to Conserve Water

Just five suggestions, but they are the basic elements of a sound, reasonable, and effective water conservation program for you and your family. Don’t let water go to waste. Do your part to use water wisely.

1. Check every faucet in your home for leaks. Just a slow drip can waste 15 to 20 gallons a day. Fix it and you save almost 6,000 gallons a year.

2. Put a bit of food coloring in each toilet tank. Without flushing, watch for a few minutes to see if the color shows up in the toilet bowl. It’s not uncommon to lose up to 100 gallons a day from one of these otherwise invisible toilet leaks. And that’s more than 30,000 gallons a year.

3. Don’t shower too long or fill the tub too full. Five minutes for showering and five inches in the tub is plenty.

4. Try to use automatic dish and clothes washing machines with full loads only. Even when the machines feature short cycles, you’re being more efficient with your water when there are enough dirty things for a full load.

5. Most importantly, water your lawn and garden with good sense. Do it early in the morning, the earlier the better, not in the midday heat. Avoid windy days. See that water goes where it should, not on sidewalks or driveways. Stick a spade in the ground now and then to see that water is down deep. A good soaking encourages good root systems. But remember this: A single lawn sprinkler spraying five gallons a minute uses 50% more water in just one hour than a combination of 10 toilet flushes, two 5-minute showers, two dishwasher loads and a full load of clothes.

Home Water Audit
Looking for Water Leaks
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Water Conservation & Drought

It seems like a lost cause to think about water conservation during a drought.  The lawns are drying up, the trees are showing stress and it takes all the will-power you can muster to keep from pouring the water to them on a daily basis. The truth is that most of our lawns and plantings are pretty drought tolerant. All you have to do is look at our lawns, after the rains have returned and the lawn mowers are back out, to tell that this is true.

The notion of having lush green lawns even in our typical dry months really isn’t that necessary. If you are like me and have some plantings that are not so drought tolerant, a weekly soaking is necessary to keep them alive. Also prolonged and/or severe drought can even kill grass, so a once or twice weekly watering should be sufficient to keep it from dying off completely even thought it may not be exactly green and lush.

Our typical dry months of July and August are a natural cycle for us. It is natural to see not so green lawns, on the contrary, it is unnatural to see green lush lawns. I always kind of enjoyed the break from lawn mowing myself; it gave me more time to do other things more important like camping and fishing with the family or just enjoying a nice summer day on the patio with a good book and a cool drink.

We saw historically high water production at the treatment facility this summer. Luckily we currently have good capacity since we recently expanded the water plant. We didn’t have to revert to sprinkling bans in Buffalo like a lot of other communities did. As we get closer to design capacity with our current plant, we will most likely see the return of some sort of watering bans until new construction further increases capacity.

New sod and plantings need a lot of water to get established and we have a lot of new construction right now. The rest of us can do our part for conservation by limiting our water to only what is needed to maintain the life of the plant. Brown is a good color too.

Apartment Living & Water Conservation

Recent studies in other cities have indicated that water conservation is not high on the priority list when the apartment building owner is paying the bill. I think we all know it is not likely going to result in a cut in the monthly rent if we are diligent in water conservation, but there are some interesting facts and food for thought that you ought to know.

It was found that the average water consumption was 100 gallons per day per person when the building owner was paying the bill. That rate dropped to 55 to 60 gallons per day per person when the residents had their own meters and were paying the bill.  A further reduction in water savings was realized when the building was retrofitted with new water saving toilets and showerheads. The average daily usage was further reduced to 30 gallons per day per person.

Building owners can do the retrofit to their units and save themselves 20 to 40 percent on their water bills. The savings will more than pay for the retrofit. Research should be done to make sure that the units that are used actually do the job in one flush. There are units out there that take 2 even 3 flushes to do the job eliminating any potential water savings.

It is in everyone’s best interest to conserve water. World leaders have been saying that water (or rather the lack of water) related issues would probably be one of the most important issues of the 21st century. Wars will be fought over water issues.

Believe it or not the State of Minnesota has declared our state as a water shortage state. We are using more water out of our aquifers then can be replenished. I was at a recent meeting where a state official said that this would be very apparent when we have another drought like we did back in 1988 and 1989.

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We consistently test, monitor, and report on the quality of our water, electricity and wastewater discharge.  The safety of our citizens and the protection of the environment is important to all of us.

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