Water and waste

The fliers about the compost workshop I’m teaching on November 13 went out this past week in the Green Waste “curbsider” and Ana Maria Revelo at the county received an overwhelming response (over 200 phone calls). I’m glad there is such an interest and wish it were possible to put on more workshops. Without any funding it’s all done by volunteers, including Ana Maria’s time. She registered 40 participants, and that’s all we can take. Participants will receive a free back yard compost bin.

Yesterday I attended a workshop on rain water collection. I had already set up a couple of rain barrels at my house and was amazed by the amount of water that is available from my roof. I had filled both barrels (125 gallons total) after the first couple of little rains we had, and they were overflowing. I want to set up more! I learned that in a typical rainfall season here in Santa Cruz one could collect around 65,000 gallons of water off my roof. Of course I don’t expect to have the capacity to store that much. I’ve been using the water for houseplants, watering as needed between rains, rinsing sandy feet, etc.

Collecting rainwater helps prevent run off of toxic substances into the Bay. When it rains and water rushes off the hard surfaces of driveways, walks and streets it drains straight out to the Bay carrying oils, pesticides, etc. By diverting it so that it goes into the ground first it gets filtered and gradually returns to the water cycle.

At the workshop we were given an informative new book produced by the Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County. It’s called Slow it. Spread it. Sink it! A Homeowner’s Guide to Greening Stormwater Runoff. Free copies are available.

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