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Water Smart, Hampton Roads

Posted on July 31, 2015 by | Comments (0)

An_Irrigation_sprinkler_watering_a_gardenWe’re wrapping up July so it’s a good time to check in on our watering practices. It’s easy to keep our lawns and landscape in tip top shape without excessive watering even in the heat of summer…we just have to be water smart in our practices. Here’s how:

  • Water at the right time of day – in the mornings when the sun is low, winds are calm and temps are cooler. Watering in the heat of the day is less effective because of the water lost due to evaporation.
  • Adjust your sprinkler system. The sidewalk and the driveway do NOT need watering – and your lawn doesn’t need it either during a rain shower. Adjust sprinklers to only water the plants, not the pavement. If you have an automatic system, installing a moisture sensor will help you avoid being THAT house that’s watering while it’s raining.
  • Speaking of rain, adjust your watering schedule to account for rain. Your lawn only needs about an inch of water per week so pay attention to the forecast and if we get an inch of rain, hold off on watering for another week.
  • If you have an irrigation system, always pay attention to your water bills. A sudden spike  could indicate a leak that’s costing you lots of gallons and subsequently lots of dollars and cents.

Happy watering!

Posted in: Gardening, Going Green, Lawn and landscape, Lawncare, Outdoor tips, Uncategorized, Using water wisely

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Keep Suffolk Beautiful Encourages the End to Cigarette Butt Litter

Posted on July 30, 2015 by | Comments (0)

Suffolk CLPP#NoCigaretteLitterNow. The hash tag says it all! Seven Hampton Roads localities have teamed up to tackle cigarette butt litter throughout our communities. While each community is unique in their execution of the Keep America Beautiful Cigarette Litter Prevention Program, the message is the same: cigarette butts = litter. The City of Suffolk launched its cigarette litter prevention program on June 22. With the help of the chair of the Suffolk Clean Community Commission, Kathy Russell, and City of Suffolk Public Works employees, we were able to install five cigarette receptacles in downtown Suffolk along Main Street and West Washington. Downtown Suffolk was chosen as the target area for this program because it is the source of new construction, high traffic volume, and various businesses. The receptacles can be found in front of Toke Hookah Lounge, Serendipity Hair Salon, East Coast Taco, Super Drug Inc., and All About Virginia & More gift Shop. The owner of each of these businesses have joined in our efforts to stop cigarette butt litter by pledging to take responsibility for the upkeep of these receptacles and also to help communicate to smokers the harm of cigarette litter. Originally finding over 300 cigarette butts in our target area, our goal is for the receptacles, along with the educational awareness, to help reduce the number of cigarette butt litter found on the ground. Listed below are ways that you can get involved with our program:

  • Smokers: visit any of the participating business in downtown Suffolk to grab your free pocket or car ashtray! Never throw cigarette butts out of car windows or on the ground.
  • Do Your Part: host a cleanup in your community or neighborhood to help Keep Suffolk Beautiful. It is our responsibility to help keep our community litter free. Cigarette butt litter is unsightly and harmful to wildlife.
  • Communicate: inform smokers about the harm of cigarette litter. Filters do not biodegrade and persist in the environment.
  • Share your thoughts: Use the hashtag #NoCigaretteLitterNow on Facebook and Twitter to let friends and families know about the Cigarette Litter Prevention Program.
  • See for yourself: City of Suffolk Public Works will be at each T.G.I.F. Summer Concert Series for the remainder of the summer. Stop by to learn more about the Cigarette Litter Prevention Program and to pick up a free ashtray! Be sure to look for the results of this program, along with the follow up scan that will be shared in a national report. 

Suffolk CLPP2Receptacle placement is most successful at points of transition, where people are moving from place to place. The positioning of the receptacles combined with positive reminders, education and awareness will help smokers to do the right thing. Remember, cigarette butts are litter too.

This blog contributed by Lacie Nixson, Environmental Technician with Suffolk Public Works.

Posted in: Beautification, Cigarette Litter, Cigarette Litter, Don't litter!, Waterways

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Suffolk Makes Battery Recycling Easy

Posted on July 28, 2015 by | Comments Off

batteriesRecycling. It is a word that is used often enough, common to most. It is a word describing the re-use or re-purposing of an item. Most people think of recycling as paper, plastic bottles, glass, or metal, but recycling can be much more than that. In the City of Suffolk, batteries, for example, are just as easy to recycle as your typical household recycling. Although you cannot put them in your curbside container, the City of Suffolk offers many drop off sites to place your alkaline batteries (AA, AAA, C, D, 9V).

As interns for the City of Suffolk in the Public Works Department we will have the opportunity to explore different divisions throughout the summer. This week, while working with the Environmental Engineering division, we were able to learn the benefits of striving to achieve a clean, litter free community. This included learning about the world of battery recycling. Before this week, none of us knew that batteries could be recycled, much less the benefits that keeping batteries out of landfills provided. Although seemingly harmless, batteries contain heavy metals that have the possibility to contaminate our environment. To keep these heavy metals out of landfills and conserve resources, it is best to have batteries recycled. The Suffolk Clean Commission, or Keep Suffolk Beautiful, has placed battery recycling bins in various locations throughout the city including select libraries, public buildings and stores. The commissioners empty the batteries from these bins at least once a month and take them to a larger battery storage bin where it is picked up to be recycled once a year.  For each of us, our families recycle normal household materials in our curbside container regularly, but now we can help with educating them on where to take our batteries for recycling as well.battery recycling

So what do you do with your batteries? Do you keep them? Throw them away? The City of Suffolk makes battery recycling easy for citizens. Click here to see where your nearest battery recycling bins are located. To find out more about the Battery Recycling Program in Suffolk, contact the Litter Control Coordinator at   

 The content of this blog was created by City of Suffolk Public Works interns.

Posted in: Reduce reuse and recycle

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Buckroe Beach’s New Additons!

Posted on July 23, 2015 by | Comments Off

HA Buckroe Beach

“Grooving by the Bay” Concert Series
Buckroe Beach Park, Hampton, VA

Every Sunday evening through August 9th, hundreds will gather at Buckroe Park for Grooving by the Bay. Some will tap to the beat of a band and others will dance till the sun goes down or their feet ache. Whichever comes first!

Years ago ashtrays were in every vehicle, restaurant, business, and many homes. Today, ash receptacles are hard to find and businesses require smokers to smoke only outside. Last year at Buckroe Park there was no place to dispose of cigarette butts and cigar tips safely! According to “Keep America Beautiful” research, 32% of litter is found in outdoor recreation areas. Of course, the beach and park are no place for cigarette butt filters that contain a concentation of harmful carcinogens and are undigestable.  They may be picked up by children or eaten by wildlife thinking it is food.  Don’t despair!

HA Buckroe Beach CLPPGOOD NEWS! SOMETHING IS DIFFERENT THIS YEAR! Thanks to a Keep America Beautiful  and their Cigarette Litter Prevention Program (CLPP) grant along with $5,000 raised by through the annual Keep Hampton Roads Beautiful Golf Tournament, ash receptacles have now been placed for smokers convenience at both Buckroe Park and Buckroe’s Fishing Pier!

Be on the lookout for our new additions placed at the pavilion, entrance to playground, restroom area, Sand Dollar picnic shelter, and park and fishing piers. Volunteers will also be passing out free pocket ashtrays to smokers during the Grooving by the Bay concert series. So far, recipients of pocket ashtrays are delighted to become advocates for creating a cleaner community not only for children, but our wildlife and waterways too. 

CigButtLitter-Pic2Come on down and listen to the beat of “Grooving by the Bay” Sunday evenings from 6:00- 9:00 pm. Last concert is August 9th. You just may see me or one of our volunteers passing out pocket ashtrays!  Please introduce yourself!

This blog contributed by Cris Ausink of the Hampton Clean City Commission.

Posted in: Beautification, Cigarette Litter, Cigarette Litter, Don't litter!, Waterways

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Rain Barrels Made Easy

Posted on July 20, 2015 by | Comments Off

IMG_2946I have wanted to install a rain barrel at my house for a very, very long time. It would be one way to help reduce flooding in a low area in our yard. Plus we have lots of plants that would love the free water. But, seriously, who has a 55 gallon barrel lying around? I certainly didn’t. I checked lots of options online from the minimal to the beautiful (and pricey). I just wasn’t sure what to get. So like many other things in life, the rain barrel dream was put on the back burner while my busy life continued.

And then, when I wasn’t even thinking about rain barrels, everything fell into place! I learned about a low cost rain barrel workshop hosted by Hampton Master Gardens and Hampton Clean City Commission on a weekend my husband was (finally) off work. So I signed us up and a few days later we were traveling home with a 55 gallon rain barrel in the back of our Toyota Corolla. (Yes, it did fit in there!)

IMG_2942The two hour workshop provided a great overview of water quality problems and what we could all do to help clean up local waterways. It also included the supplies and assistance we needed to make our very own rain barrel. The barrels were pre-drilled for the faucet and overflow connector so all we had to do was attach fixtures, caulk and away we went!

The next day we stopped by the hardware store and picked up two cans of all surface spray paint, bricks and some downspout elbows. We stacked up the bricks and placed the rain barrel on top so our watering can will fit underneath. Next, we measured the gutter and made a cut in just the right place. And when I say we did this…I definitely just mean my husband did it. The downspout elbows finished off the project by helping future rainfall find its way into our rain barrel.

Bekah Rain BarrelSo here it is! The finished product that will reduce flooding in our swampy yard, provide a source of free water for outdoor uses and help our home send less water down the storm drain and into local waterways. Find out how you can make your own rain barrel or if you’re like me and need some outside help, find an upcoming rain barrel workshop near you!

Now let’s see your rain barrels, Hampton Roads! Share a picture of your rain barrel with us on Facebook or Twitter and inspire others to get their own.

Posted in: Gardening, Lawn and landscape, Lawncare, Outdoor tips, Rain Barrels, Using water wisely, Waterways

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