We all can do our part for the planet

Water Reuse Week – Florida, A national leader in reclaiming water

beach-beautiful-bridge-449627.jpg

The volume of reusing treated wastewater (reclaimed water) is astoundingly huge in Florida – over 200 million gallons daily; just within the St. Johns River Water Management District. In that spirit, May 13th to 19th was recognized as the ‘water reuse week’ in Florida.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), along with a few agencies, emphasize on the benefits of reusing wastewater. Chuck Drake, the Governing Board Secretary, says that we need to use reclaimed water to support outdoor watering needs (domestic & otherwise) and reduce the burden on conventional water supplies. With this, he says, we can protect our natural resources and meet future water demands. The water reuse week was a great opportunity to inculcate public awareness for reuse and celebrate the underlying state-level affairs. He notes that every person’s effort matters as they make educated decisions about managing water.

According to Dr Ann Shortelle, the St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director, Florida is a national leader when it comes to water reuse. The department has partnered with agencies on cooperative funding projects to deploy and develop water reuse opportunities in their neighboring 18 counties.  Florida utilities began using reclaimed water in the 1970s and they have become a major force in water management with a state-wide influence.

What is water reuse?

A lot of water is used for industrial and domestic purposes – cleaning, bathing, production, etc. Once used, most water becomes wastewater. This waster can be treated at multiple levels for so that it has some use in society again. Water reuse is the use of treated wastewater for beneficial outcomes.

What are the benefits of water reuse?

Communities can lower the burden on freshwater supplies and thus conserve it. Reuse is a favorable alternative to wastewater disposal which may have pervasive detrimental effects on the environment.

When reused water is used, the burden on fresh drinkable water is lowered which further liquidates the supply of drinkable (pun intended) water in homes, businesses, restaurants, etc. Desperate alternatives to the production or supply of drinking water can take a back seat.

Overall, reuse is being environmentally conscious at every scale.

Florida neighborhoods have purple pipes that distribute reclaimed water. Although this water is unfit for drinking, its uses are non-trivial. Irrigation is the largest use for such water. In fact, the month of May also puts a huge demand on irrigation water due to the hot and dry climate.

Upwards of 1.6 billion gallons of reuse from domestic treatment plants is permitted every day. For this purpose, Florida has a well established color-coded network of reclaimed water pipes.

The district, on the whole, takes special efforts in the promotion of effective and efficient applications of reclaimed water. The district is funding research studies and pilot programs that innovate and deploy treatment technologies. Opportunities for financial assistance have been created through cooperative programs so agencies can develop systems.

 

Interested in learning more about reuse wastewater technologies? Contact us today. 

Learn More

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Water Reuse Week – Florida, A national leader in reclaiming water

beach-beautiful-bridge-449627.jpg

The volume of reusing treated wastewater (reclaimed water) is astoundingly huge in Florida – over 200 million gallons daily; just within the St. Johns River Water Management District. In that spirit, May 13th to 19th was recognized as the ‘water reuse week’ in Florida.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), along with a few agencies, emphasize on the benefits of reusing wastewater. Chuck Drake, the Governing Board Secretary, says that we need to use reclaimed water to support outdoor watering needs (domestic & otherwise) and reduce the burden on conventional water supplies. With this, he says, we can protect our natural resources and meet future water demands. The water reuse week was a great opportunity to inculcate public awareness for reuse and celebrate the underlying state-level affairs. He notes that every person’s effort matters as they make educated decisions about managing water.

According to Dr Ann Shortelle, the St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director, Florida is a national leader when it comes to water reuse. The department has partnered with agencies on cooperative funding projects to deploy and develop water reuse opportunities in their neighboring 18 counties.  Florida utilities began using reclaimed water in the 1970s and they have become a major force in water management with a state-wide influence.

What is water reuse?

A lot of water is used for industrial and domestic purposes – cleaning, bathing, production, etc. Once used, most water becomes wastewater. This waster can be treated at multiple levels for so that it has some use in society again. Water reuse is the use of treated wastewater for beneficial outcomes.

What are the benefits of water reuse?

Communities can lower the burden on freshwater supplies and thus conserve it. Reuse is a favorable alternative to wastewater disposal which may have pervasive detrimental effects on the environment.

When reused water is used, the burden on fresh drinkable water is lowered which further liquidates the supply of drinkable (pun intended) water in homes, businesses, restaurants, etc. Desperate alternatives to the production or supply of drinking water can take a back seat.

Overall, reuse is being environmentally conscious at every scale.

Florida neighborhoods have purple pipes that distribute reclaimed water. Although this water is unfit for drinking, its uses are non-trivial. Irrigation is the largest use for such water. In fact, the month of May also puts a huge demand on irrigation water due to the hot and dry climate.

Upwards of 1.6 billion gallons of reuse from domestic treatment plants is permitted every day. For this purpose, Florida has a well established color-coded network of reclaimed water pipes.

The district, on the whole, takes special efforts in the promotion of effective and efficient applications of reclaimed water. The district is funding research studies and pilot programs that innovate and deploy treatment technologies. Opportunities for financial assistance have been created through cooperative programs so agencies can develop systems.

 

Interested in learning more about reuse wastewater technologies? Contact us today. 

Learn More

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Safety Training Helps Fishermen Survive in a Dangerous Job

By Judy Benson

Originally posted by Connecticut Sea Grant

Groton – Chris Fowler knows the perils of his occupation as a commercial fisherman, consistently ranked one of nation’s the most dangerous jobs.

So a year after he began catching skate, whiting, squid, flounder and fluke from a vessel docked in New London, he took a day off from fishing to equip himself with the skills he needs to survive an accident at sea.

fire training for fishermen with CT Sea Grant
Fishermen practice lighting emergency flares during safety and survival training May 10. Photo: Judy Benson / Connecticut Sea Grant

“This is my first training since I started as a fisherman,” said Fowler, his face wet after a drill that involved getting into an bright orange immersion suit, jumping into 50-degree water off the docks at UConn’s Avery Point campus and climbing onto a four-man life raft.

Fowler was one of 36 commercial fishermen and state agency personnel who took part in a daylong safety and survival training course on May 10 sponsored by Connecticut Sea Grant, Fishing Partnership Support Services, the U.S. Coast Guard and UConn-Avery Point. The training began with classroom lessons on first aid, use of life jackets and opioid awareness. Then the fishermen and agency staff headed to the waterfront for training in firefighting, making emergency vessel repairs, using immersion suits and life rafts and use of flares to signal for help.

The Fishing Partnership, based in Burlington, Mass., provided the Coast Guard-accepted marine safety instructors for the training, several of whom are former commercial fishermen or served in the Coast Guard.  On its website, the Fishing Partnership notes that “fishermen are 37 times more likely to die on the job than policemen. And on top of that, New England’s waters are the most dangerous in the country.”

“Fishing is the most dangerous occupation, so our focus is to give hands-on training so they know what equipment to use and how to use it,” said Ed Dennehy, director of safety training for the Fishing Partnership.

Commercial fishermen aren’t required to take safety and survival training courses, he said.

“The only requirement is that they run man overboard, fire, flooding and abandon-ship drills once a month while they’re fishing,” he said.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, however, recommends fishermen take formal training classes like this one at least every five years. Connecticut Sea Grant has been sponsoring them with various partners about every two years since 2000, and teamed up with the Fishing Partnership in 2016, said Nancy Balcom, associate director of Sea Grant and lead organizer of the training.

Fishermen climb into a life raft in their immersion suits during safety & survival training. Photo: Judy Benson / Connecticut Sea Grant
Fishermen climb into a life raft in their immersion suits during safety & survival training. Photo: Judy Benson / Connecticut Sea Grant

“There’s always turnover in the industry, and they need refresher courses,” Balcom said. “This is one of the services we can help facilitate for our fishermen to practice their skills so that if they ever have to act quickly they’ll be prepared.”

About 80 percent of those at the May 10 class were first-timers, Dennehy said, and the rest were getting refresher lessons.  Just last February, four fishermen survived the sinking of their vessel off Martha’s Vineyard using skills they had learned in a training course, he said. But two years earlier, he added, another group of New Bedford fishermen died because they were unable to get their immersion suits on in time.

“They should do this training every two to three years,” he said, “because there’s always something you didn’t pick up the first time. Sea Grant has been a really great partner with us on this, and this is an outstanding facility.”

On May 11, 13 fishermen and state agency staff returned to Avery Point for a second day of training to become certified as drill conductors – those who run the monthly on-board safety drills. Michael Theiler, a commercial fisherman out of New London, brought his vessel Emma & Maria across the river to Avery Point for the day so his fellow fishermen could practice their drill conductor skills in an authentic setting.

Fisher Harris, one of the fishermen in the safety and survival training, said the experience was both fun and a sobering reminder of how quickly small accidents can turn into disasters without proper preparation. Harris fishes on the vessel Ad Hoc, which docks in Guilford.

“I’m definitely more confident now that if I ever needed to put out a fire, I could do it,” he said, after learning the most effective way of directing a fire extinguisher onto a blaze.

Judy Benson is the communications coordinator at Connecticut Sea Grant.

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An institutional view on Menstrual Hygiene Management

Recent research points out that adequate water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in schools improves school attendance, health and cognitive development of students, nurtures better WASH habits, while addressing gendered dimensions of exclusion. Despite this evidence, operationalizing and streamlining important Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) elements into interventions that upgrade overall school infrastructure is often challenging.

The problem is partially rooted in institutions, who having imperceptibly supplanted traditional & cultural rites of passage often fail to recognize the extent of the need for robust, wholistic and sustained alternatives. Girls experiencing menarche not only require WASH infrastructure, but meaning; they not only need materials, space and privacy to change and dispose of menstrual products, but an environment free from aspersions, taboo and social restriction.
 

Download the full infographic to learn about WASH-based MHM interventions in schools. 

Last year the World Bank’s Water and Education Global Practices conducted formative research in the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA), as part of support to Ghana’s US$ 150 million Sanitation and Water Project. The research tracked multi-faceted interventions nested within a large-scale WASH upgrade project targeting over 200 Junior High Schools in 11 Municipal Assemblies across Accra in Ghana. The researchers studied the basic WASH infrastructure girls require to make MHM possible; what information can effectively be taught in schools; and whether standalone elements, or a combination – e.g. MHM-related hardware and software (MHM education) – was needed to achieve success.

One interesting finding of the formative research is that girls’ self-efficacy to manage their menstruation and engage in school may be dependent on her attitude about the sanitation interventions provided in the school. In other words, even if facilities are constructed and MHM information is delivered as designed and planned, they may be ineffective simply because the girls do not feel comfortable in the facilities, or simply, they find facilities difficult to use, or find them unacceptable based on their MHM needs. Also, school engagement, or the extent to which students are involved in, attached and committed to the academic and social activities in school, plays a prominent role in preventing academic failure, promoting competence, and influencing a wide range of adolescent health outcomes, where MHM plays an important role. The interaction between improper MHM and lack of adequate sanitation facilities create a negative effect on well-being of girls and their emotional cycles. This interaction propels negative feedbacks and adverse behaviors that affect their attention span in the classroom, and their academic engagement, leading to isolation from peers, teachers and school friends. As MHM is introduced in schools, behavioral engagement is improved primarily with higher adherence to class rules, involvement in learning activities including athletics and school clubs, asking questions and demonstrating effort, concentration and attention.

The study also shows that a girls’ MHM experience is shaped by institutions’ interpretation of policies at the local level. In the GAMA Project, WASH and MHM policies are espoused by the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service’s School Hygiene Education Program; these are translated at the Local Government level by Municipal Assemblies who oversee School Management Committees, Parent Teachers Associations and school health coordinators.  How these actors mobilize resources, interrelate, and the extent to which girls enjoy well managed WASH facilities, individual knowledge and social support was seen to vary from school to school. Some schools promote girls’ awareness by organizing a ‘Mbaa Nkomo’ (literally, ‘female chat’) session, where girls raise confidential concerns by placing questions in a box which the teacher removes and discusses with the group. Other schools did not have face to face discussions and teachers were unsure how to broach the topic. This finding suggests that introducing incentives, creating an MHM measurement system, and encouraging leadership at multiple levels can result in better performance.

There are vast opportunities to learn how MHM can be instrumental in large-scale urban education projects, and to share lessons learned with the broader WASH in Schools community around the world, research institutions, universities, government agencies, think tanks and NGOs. In Ghana, we took a first step to qualitatively understand these dynamics, but hope to learn more about the long-term effects of MHM within government-World Bank supported projects moving forward.

Keeping girls engaged in school is beneficial to society as a whole – it provides the “girls effect dividend,” an economic rationale for girls education, due among others, to the large effects on future earnings and the economy in general.  Evidence has also accumulated around the advantages of girls’ education in enabling women’s participation in the workforce, and how this improves GDP per capita, infant and child survival, and the education of future generations. With adequate management and instrumentation of MHM, more girls have a chance of maximizing benefits from school at a critical age, and contributing to the SDGs and socio-economic progress. 

 

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Patriotic Smoothies

serving smoothies in Meriden schools

In Meriden schools, they served Red, White, & Blue Smoothies in honor of the winter Olympics and local dairy in February. What a cool idea! And one that you can replicate at home in honor of Memorial Day. It’s a fun and delicious smoothie. The layers were strawberry, banana, and blueberry served at breakfast with graham crackers. 

Put Local on Your Tray is a farm-to-school program helping Connecticut schools serve and celebrate regionally grown food.

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Basic Management of Small Poultry Flocks

By Michael J. Darre, Ph.D., P.A.S.

rooster at UConn facility
White leghorn roosters with chickens at the Poultry Uniton Jan. 27, 2017. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

There are several basic needs that need to be provided for poultry. These are feed, water, fresh air, light, darkness, proper thermal environment, protection (from the elements, predators, injury and theft) and proper space. Proper housing and equipment will take care of many of these items. Poultry and other animals function normally when they exist in harmonious balance with the other living forms and the physical and chemical factors in their environment. Therefore, it is the role of the poultry owner to properly manage the animals in their care.

HOUSING

Poultry require a dry, draft free environment. Depending upon the number of birds to be housed, almost any type of building that provides controlled ventilation, such as windows and doors, can be used. Birds should be reared in high, well drained areas. The windows of the coop and, outside run should face south to allow maximum exposure to the sun throughout the year. This helps with warmth in the winter and dryness during the rest of the year.

If you are building new, consider a concrete floor and starting your walls with two concrete blocks. This will prevent rodents, snakes and other predators from digging under the walls and floors for entrance into the coop. If you use plywood for floor construction, consider using two layers of 3/4″ CDX plywood, with a layer of 1/4″ or 1/8″ galvanized wire mesh between the layers, then raise the floor off the ground with posts or 6″ x 6″ runners. Using runners allows you to move the coop as needed. Being off the ground also helps prevent rot and moisture in the coop. All this helps prevent predators from chewing through the floor. Some have found that using the double layer of plywood with wire mesh and insulation between the layers helps keep the coop warmer in the winter. Windows should also be covered with wire mesh to keep wild birds and other predators out. For summer, a wire mesh screen door helps keep the coop cooler at night.

Ventilation provides comfort for the birds by removing moisture, ammonia and other gases; provides an exchange of air and helps control the temperature of the pen. You can use natural or gravity fed ventilation with windows, flues and slats. Or you can use forced air ventilation if you have a larger number of birds. In a small coop (less than 150 sq ft of floor space) you can use a bathroom fan in the ceiling and slats in the walls or windows to remove excess moisture in the winter, much as it does in your home. It is important to remove excess moisture and ammonia from the coop, especially in cold weather when ventilation is at a minimum.

For predator protection, keep your birds confined with fence and covered runs. Outside run fencing should be buried at least 12″ to 18″with an 6″ to 8″ “L” or “J” to the outside, backfilled with rocks and soil to prevent digging predators. To prevent problems with flying predators, cover your outside runs with mesh wire or netting. A 3-4 ft. grid over the pen made from bailing twine has also proven effective against flying predators. A good outside run can be made by digging 12-18” with a slight slopeaway from the coop, and laying plastic sheetingdown (if you don’t have good drainage) with a drain pipe at the end to catch runoff. Add 4-6” of sand, cover with 1⁄4” wire mesh, add 4-6” of coarse gavel, cover with 1/4” wire mesh and topwith 4-6” of pea-gravel. Put a barrier around therun of 2×6” to keep the gravel in place. Or youcan use a good ground cover of millet, broomcorn, sorghum or other tall leafy vegetation which provides hiding space for the birds.

Space:

Birds need adequate space for feeding, exercise, breeding, nesting and roosting.

Minimum Space Requirements

poultry space requirements by type of bird

Roosts: Provide chickens with 6-10 inches of roost space per bird. Round roosts are the best, and a tree branch of about 1″ to 1.5″ in diameter works well. Meat birds and waterfowl do not require roosts.

Nests: It is best to provide one nest box for each 4-5 females in the flock. 12-14” cubeswith front open with perching space for the birds to stand on while entering the nest.

Floor material: Litter floors of wood shavings is the best. Wood has an excellent capacity to absorb moisture and then re- release it into the air. Whatever you use, keep it clean and dry.

FEED AND WATER

Birds need free access to fresh feed. Feeders can be made of wood, metal, or plastic, but it is important to provide about 2-3 linear inches of feeder space per bird and up to 6″ for meat type birds and turkeys. They should be adjustable in height so the lip of the feeder will be at the level of the back of the bird when standing. Keep troughs only half full to prevent feed wastage.

Fresh water should always be available to your birds, inside or outside. If using an open waterer keeping the lip of the waterer level with the back of the bird is essential. For winter watering, metal waterers can be placed on low temp heaters, keeping the

water at about 50oF. However, nipple waters are the best, since the birds cannot produce suction in their mouth. I recommend them over any open watering system. Use of a fish tank heater in buckets used for nipple waterers helps prevent freezing in the winter.

Commercial poultry feeds have been specially formulated for the type and age of your birds and are the best source of nutrition for your birds. For egg layers, a 14 or 16% CP laying mash or crumbles can be fed from the first egg until out of production. Chicks should be fed a 18-23% CP medicated starter, unless they received cocci-vac, then use a non-medicated starter feed, for six weeks. Then put on a 16-18% CP layer grower feed till 15 weeks or first egg, then on to the layer feed. Broilers should be feed a broiler starter (21-23% CP) feed for 3 weeks, and a 18-20% CP grower/ finisher till market.

LIGHT

Poultry require artificial lighting to maintain egg production during the short days of winter. Poultry are long-day breeders and we normally provide laying hens about 16 hrs of light per day throughout the year. Light timers set to come on at 5 am and off at 9 pm will supply the hours required. Low wattage CFL, LED or Incandescent lamps that supply about 1 foot candle of light at bird level is adequate. Use a 2700K lamp.

Never decrease the hours of light on laying hens or increase the hours of light on a growing bird.

BROODING

Raising and brooding baby chicks requires special care. Chicks need to be reared in isolation for disease prevention. They should be reared in a clean, disinfected environment. Baby chicks cannot properly regulate their body temperature for a few days after hatching and require a heat source. Heat lamps, brooder stoves, hovers and infrared heaters work well. A brooder guard, a ring of cardboard or plastic at least 18″ high on the floor circling the heat source keeps the chicks from getting too far from the heat and reduces drafts. Watch the birds, if they huddle under the heat source, they are too cool, if off to one side, a draft, if spread evenly, just right. For newly hatched birds is it best to provide them with water for the first couple of hours before giving them solid feed. This helps clean out their excretory system. If you get chicks from a distant hatchery through the mail, then give them a 5% sugar water solution for the first few hours to boost their energy level.

DISEASE MANAGEMENT

Refer to UConn Poultry Pages for more detailed information on health and diseases of poultry.

Download a copy of this article as a PDF.

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Can I Water Vegetables with my Rain Barrel Water?

By Joan Allen

Originally published by the UConn Home & Garden Education Center

rain barrel against side of house in with shrubs
Photo credit: CT DEEP

Collection of rain water from roofs using rain barrels is growing in popularity because of its many environmental and practical benefits. It can help the environment by diverting water that might contain contaminants away from storm drains and the natural bodies of water that those empty into.  Depletion of well water can be a benefit when this non-potable water is used instead of the tap for things like washing cars, irrigation of plants, and flushing toilets. If you’re on a city/public water system, it can save money to use rain water where you can, too. But is using rain water to irrigate vegetables and fruits safe? Are there contaminants in it that could make people sick? Let’s take a look at what’s been studied.

A few universities in the U.S and abroad have done some work to look at potential contaminants in roof run-off water including heavy metals like zinc, copper, lead and others as well as bacteria such as E. coli and other pathogens. Testing done so far has shown low risk from these, but there is some. And of course, it depends on the type of roofing material, the environment (ie acid rain, urban vs. rural, etc) and possibly other factors. In one study, most of the metals tested the same in rain barrel water as in rain water before it hit the roofs, so little to no concern there. One exception was zinc, and elevated levels could lead to build up of this element in soils. At high enough levels, this can cause injury to plants and those plants should not be consumed (1). Monitor for this by having the soil tested.

While risk appears to be low, there were a few samples in studies (1, 2) where E. coli or total coliform bacterial levels exceeded official standards for some uses. Rain barrel water should NEVER be used for potable purposes such as drinking water, cooking or washing. Where do the bacteria in run-off come from? The main sources would be fecal matter from animals such as squirrels and birds that land and move around on the roof.

But if you’d like to water your vegetable garden with rain barrel water, are there ways to do it safely?

Dr. Mike Dietz, Assistant Extension Educator at UConn with expertise in water management recommends “not using roof water on anything leafy that you are going to eat directly. It would be OK to water soil/plants where there is no direct contact”. This is consistent with recommendations from other experts who suggest applying the water directly to the soil and avoiding contact with above-ground plant parts. An ideal set-up would be to hook up a drip irrigation system to your rain barrel(s). Pressure will be improved when they are full and if they are elevated. A full rain barrel can be pretty heavy, at about 500 lbs. for a 55 gallon unit, so make sure they are on a solid and stable base such as concrete blocks.

If possible, and this is done in larger collection systems automatically, don’t collect the ‘first flush’ of water off the roof. This would be the first few gallons. In a ¼” rainfall as much as 150 gallons can be collected from a 1000 ft2 roof surface (3). The first water to run off tends to have higher concentrations of any contaminants because of them building up on the roof since the previous rainfall event.

Another more practical way to minimize risk of pathogen/bacterial contamination is to treat the collected water with bleach. Rutgers University recommends treating 55 gallons of water by adding one ounce of unscented household chlorine bleach to the barrel once a month (or more often if rain is frequent). Allow this to stand for 24 hours before using the water for irrigation so the bleach can dissipate.

Apply collected water in the morning. Wait until leaves dry in the sun before harvesting. Ultraviolet light from the sun will have some disinfecting effect.

It is recommended to have the rain barrel water tested for E. coli. Be sure to follow the testing lab’s instructions for collection, storage and time sensitivity of the samples.

Thoroughly wash all harvested produce. In addition, you should always thoroughly wash your hands with warm, soapy water after they are in contact with collected water.

In summary, there are risks to using collected rain water for irrigation of food crops. In most cases, the risk appears to be low, and using the above sanitation practices can reduce risk.

References:

  1. DeBusk, K., W. Hunt, D. Osmond and G. Cope. 2009. Water quality of rooftop runoff: implications for residential water harvesting systems. North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension.
  2. Bakacs, M., M. Haberland and S. Yergeau. 2017. Rain barrels part IV: testing and applying harvested water to irrigate a vegetable garden. Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station. Fact Sheet FS1218.
  3. Rainfall as a resource. A resident’s guide to rain barrels in Connecticut. CT DEEP.

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Dealing with Storm Damaged Trees

By Tom Worthley, UConn Extension

 

tree down across road in Brookfield, Connecticut on May 15, 2018
Tree down in Brookfield, Connecticut on May 15, 2018. Photo: Jeremy Petro

On May 15, 2018, late in the afternoon, a striking example of one of those “severe weather events” we see quite often these days passed through my neighborhood in Higganum. Severe winds, downpours, lightning and thunder all were part of a wicked and deadly storm that ripped limbs from and uprooted trees, downed powerlines and damaged buildings and vehicles in other parts of the state. Images on TV news and social media of damage and cleanup efforts have been striking.

For my part, because of the sudden and severe nature of the winds, and the near-continuous display of lightning, I was as nervous I ever remember being about a storm event and the potential for damage to my humble little house from trees and limbs. Sure enough, one large limb, from the top of a large red oak, did get ripped off and came down about 20 feet from where I park my car. There is, of course, a mess of smaller twigs and branches as well. No real property damage, thank goodness, but it was close. The storm was over a quick as it began, and now, just like many folks around the state, I’m faced with a clean-up task. It’s not a real problem for me; that broken limb is at the edge of the woods and will make a nice neat little pile of firewood.

For many people, however, the task of cleaning up storm-damaged trees is not so straightforward and simple. Many damaged trees are huge and are left in precarious, unstable positions. Storm-damaged trees are fraught with abundant problems, dangers, and risks. Cutting, cleaning up and salvaging downed, partially down or damaged trees is one of the most dangerous and risky activities an individual can undertake.

In viewing the news reports, photos and social media posts I have been shocked and horrified by the personal risks that people are taking to cut up downed trees in cleanup efforts. Pictures of men operating chain saws in shorts and t-shirts, climbing downed tree limbs (and standing on them!) to cut them, working with no personal protective equipment, etc. – it can all be quite distressing for a person familiar with the potential danger. No professional arborist or logger I know does chain saw work without personal protective equipment – and these are the experts!

It cannot be emphasized enough that without personal skill and a thorough knowledge of equipment capabilities, safety procedures and methods for dealing with physically stressed trees, an individual should never undertake this type of work on their own. The very characteristics that make the wood from trees a great structural material can turn leaning, hanging or down trees into dangerous “booby-traps” that spring, snap, and move in mysterious ways when people try to cut them. They can cause serious and life threatening injuries. Just because your neighbor or relative owns a chain saw, it doesn’t make them qualified to tackle a large tree that is uprooted or broken. Contacting a Licensed Arborist, or Certified Forest Practitioner with the right equipment, training, and insurance, is the best alternative for addressing the cleanup and salvage of storm damaged trees, and avoiding potential injury, death, liability and financial loss.

That said, there are a few things a homeowner can do about trees that are damaged and/or causing other damage around a home site:

  • First, from a safe distance note the location of any and all downed utility lines. Always assume that downed wires are charged and do not approach them. Notify the utility company of the situation and do nothing further until they have cleared the area.
  • Don’t forget to LOOK UP! While you may be fascinated with examining a downed limb, there may be another one hanging up above by a splinter, ready to drop at any time.
  • Once you are confident that no electrocution or other physical danger exists, you can visually survey the scene and perhaps document it with written descriptions and photographs. This will be particularly helpful if a property insurance claim is to be filed. Proving auto or structure damage after a downed tree has been removed is easier if a photo record has been made.
  • Take steps to flag off the area or otherwise warn people that potential danger exists.
  • Remember that even if a downed tree or limb appears stable, it is subject to many unnatural stresses and tensions. If you are not familiar with these conditions, do not attempt to cut the tree or limb yourself. Cutting even small branches can cause pieces to release tension by springing back, or cause weight and balance to shift unexpectedly with the potential for serious injury. Call a professional for assistance.
  • Under no circumstances, even in the least potentially dangerous situation, ever operate, or allow anyone on your property to operate a chainsaw without thorough knowledge of safe procedures and proper safety equipment, including, at the minimum, hardhat, leg chaps, eye and hearing protection, steel-toe boots and gloves.

An assessment of the damage to individual trees, or more widespread damage in a forest setting is best undertaken by an individual with professional expertise. Homeowners should contact an Arborist to examine trees in yards or near to structures, roads or power lines. A Certified Forester is qualified to evaluate damage in the forest to trees and stands and advise landowners about the suitability of salvage or cleanup operations. The CT-DEEP Forestry Division can provide information about contacting a Certified Forester or Licensed Arborist. Check the DEEP Website, http://www.ct.gov/deep/cwp/view.asp?a=2697&q=322792&deepNav_GID=1631%20

or call 860-424-3630. Listings of Licensed Arborists can also be found at the CT Tree Protective Association web site, www.CTPA.org.

While a nice tidy pile of firewood from a tree that was damaged in a storm might be the silver lining, it is not worth the risk of injury to yourself or someone else when tackling a very dangerous task without the proper knowledge, equipment or preparation.

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Extension Offers Greenhouse Biological Control Conference

 

liliesUConn Extension is sponsoring a Greenhouse Biological Control Conference.  This one-day educational program will be held onWednesday, June 20, 2018 at Room 100, WB Young Building, University of Connecticut in Storrs, CT.

The speakers featured at this educational program include:

  • Michael Oleykowski,  Syngenta  who will be speaking on Developing an Effective, Integrated Control Program 
  • Debbie Palumbo-Sanders, Bioworks, Victor, NY   who will be speaking on Biofungicides and Their Fit into Your IPM Program
  • Kerri Stafford, Cavicchio Greenhouses, Sudbury, MA  who will be speaking on Implementing Our Biological Control Program
  • Annie White, Nectar Landscape Design Studio, Burlington, VT  who will be speaking on Top Plants for Attracting Pollinators: Natives and Beyond
  • Carol Glenister, IPM Laboratories, Locke, NY  who will be speaking on Plants Talk Biocontrol: How to Use Plants to Manage Pests

A registration fee of $40 is due by June 14 payable by check only to the University of Connecticut. Included in the cost of admission: coffee, continental breakfast, lunch, informational handouts and parking.

Five pesticide recertification credits will be offered. For more information contact: Leanne Pundt at leanne.pundt@uconn.edu or call 860.626.6855 or click here for the program brochure or visit the website: http://ipm.uconn.edu/pa_greenhouse/

This work is supported by the Crop Protection and Pest Management grant no. 2014-70006-22548/project accession no. 1004700 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

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Extension Offers Greenhouse Biological Control Conference

 

liliesUConn Extension is sponsoring a Greenhouse Biological Control Conference.  This one-day educational program will be held onWednesday, June 20, 2018 at Room 100, WB Young Building, University of Connecticut in Storrs, CT.

The speakers featured at this educational program include:

  • Michael Oleykowski,  Syngenta  who will be speaking on Developing an Effective, Integrated Control Program 
  • Debbie Palumbo-Sanders, Bioworks, Victor, NY   who will be speaking on Biofungicides and Their Fit into Your IPM Program
  • Kerri Stafford, Cavicchio Greenhouses, Sudbury, MA  who will be speaking on Implementing Our Biological Control Program
  • Annie White, Nectar Landscape Design Studio, Burlington, VT  who will be speaking on Top Plants for Attracting Pollinators: Natives and Beyond
  • Carol Glenister, IPM Laboratories, Locke, NY  who will be speaking on Plants Talk Biocontrol: How to Use Plants to Manage Pests

A registration fee of $40 is due by June 14 payable by check only to the University of Connecticut. Included in the cost of admission: coffee, continental breakfast, lunch, informational handouts and parking.

Five pesticide recertification credits will be offered. For more information contact: Leanne Pundt at leanne.pundt@uconn.edu or call 860.626.6855 or click here for the program brochure or visit the website: http://ipm.uconn.edu/pa_greenhouse/

This work is supported by the Crop Protection and Pest Management grant no. 2014-70006-22548/project accession no. 1004700 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

[Read More …]