askHrgreen.org
askHRgreen Blog
Upcoming Events for askHrgreen
  • askHRgreen Facebook
  • a
  • askHRgreen YouTube
  • a
  • askHrgreen Newsletter

 

avatar

From Used To Useful: The Ultimate Form of Recycling

Posted on November 14, 2017 by | Comments (0)

Most people think what ends up at a wastewater treatment plant is exactly that – waste. Something that is worthless. Now, I admit it is smelly and gross. I’ve stood at the headworks of one of our larger plants, the place where sewage first enters to be treated and where big bar screens trap and filter out all of the large pieces of trash that somehow got down into the sewers. It’s not pretty. I may or may not have gagged. So when I say it’s smelly and gross, I speak from personal experience. How could anything useful come out of that? There is nothing left to be reused or recycled, right? Wrong.

When I talk about wastewater, AKA sewage, I’m not just talking about your toilet flushes. Sinks, showers, washing machines, dishwashers, restaurants, and other businesses all drain to the sanitary sewer system, which is a collection of pipes and pumps that send all that dirty water to our wastewater treatment plants to be cleaned.  And all that dirty water adds up to about 150 million gallons a day. Still sounds like “waste,” I know, but it’s actually full of resources and resources can be reused as long as they can be recovered. That’s why wastewater treatment plants across the country are being renamed for what they actually are – resource recovery facilities.  It’s not just about treating dirty water; it’s about REUSING and RECYCLING. Here are a few ways HRSD is recovering resources:

crystal-green-aglink

Environmentally-friendly fertilizer made with phosphorous that used to be inside a sewage pipe.

1.  Nutrients – HRSD partners with Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies to recover phosphorous from sewage and turn it into an environmentally-friendly commercial fertilizer right here in Suffolk. It’s called Crystal Green® and its slow-release formula reduces fertilizer runoff as an added bonus. But it gets even better. Crystal Green® is made from struvite, a concrete-like material that builds up on the inside of sewage pipes and causes clogs. Not only are we reducing nutrients going into our waterways by removing them from the wastewater, but we’re creating something useful from something that is normally a big and costly pain-in–the-you-know-what.

MAR_7997

HRSD’s Combined Heat & Power System uses 100% of the gas produced; previously, more than half the gas was wasted.

2.  Energy – In Virginia Beach, HRSD’s Atlantic Treatment Plant Combined Heat and Power System generates renewable power and heat from gas produced during the plant’s treatment process. This system meets about half of the plant’s electricity demand and produces enough electricity to power 1,200 homes for a year. And P.S., cleaned water at this plant is sent into the Atlantic Ocean about 1.5 miles offshore, but a portion of it is routed through heat exchangers at the Dam Neck Naval Facility to provide energy-efficient building heating and cooling.

BAC-GAC-Filtration-300x200

HRSD’s highly treated water passes through the Carbon-Based Advanced Water Treatment step at the SWIFT Pilot facility.

3.  Water– The wastewater that flows to our plants every day is treated and then the cleaned water is sent into local waterways to be reused in the environment. But we decided we could do better than that. HRSD’s Sustainable Water Initiative for Tomorrow (SWIFT) will take highly treated water that would otherwise be discharged into local rivers and put it through additional rounds of advanced water treatment to meet drinking water quality standards. The SWIFT Water will then be added to the Potomac Aquifer, the primary source of groundwater throughout eastern Virginia. This will not only replenish our dwindling groundwater supply, but help the Bay by reducing the nutrients we currently discharge into local rivers, and help fight the impacts of sea level rise. Our SWIFT Research Center is currently under construction and you can check swiftva.com for updates and to learn more.

This might sound like resource recovery to the extreme, but ideas and technologies like these are being implemented all over the world as more communities seek forward-looking solutions. You can also turn your home into a resource recovery facility (and it’s way easier than what HRSD is doing!). Take the #BeRecycled pledge for America Recycles Day on November 15th and pledge to:

  1. Learn – Find out what materials are collected in your community.
  2. Act – Reduce the amount of waste you produce, recycle more, and buy materials made with recycled content.
  3. Share – Encourage others to take the #BeRecycled pledge.

Compost Grown

I have plants growing out of my compost bin – I guess that means it’s working!

This year I’m recovering resources by composting my kitchen scraps and yard waste. All of those leaves littering my backyard right now will be put to use fertilizing my garden beds in the spring. Check out the photo I took this week of my compost bin – it can’t wait to get started! 

 

 

Posted in: Going Green, Household tips, Reduce reuse and recycle, Research, Waterways

Share a link to this article with someone you know. Fill out the form below to send it to them.


avatar

America Recycles Day 2017

Posted on October 23, 2017 by | Comments Off

askHRgreen-American-Recycles-Day-homepageslider-11112016November 15th is America Recycles Day, the only nationally-recognized day dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling in the U.S. It’s our hope that celebrating recycling and all the wonderful things it does for our region will inspire residents to recycle more, trash less all year long. In honor of America Recycles Day, there are a variety of outreach and recycling collection events across Hampton Roads in the month of November. 

For more details about the America Recycles Day event nearest you, please check out the listing below.


Chesapeake

Who: Open to the public
What: 
Chesapeake Recycles Day
Where: Tidewater Community College
Date: November 18, 2017
Time: 9am-noon 
What to bring: Electronics (no TVs, please), clothing, household items, household hazardous waste, paper & sensitive documents, plastic bags as well as general recyclables - for complete details click here

Hampton

Who: Open to residents only of Hampton, James City County, Poquoson, Williamsburg, and York County; proof of residency may be required
What: 
VPPSA Household Hazardous Waste & Electronics Recycling
Where: Cooper Elementary School – 200 Marcella Road, Hampton
Date: November 18, 2017
Time: 8am-noon 
What to bring: 
Electronics (no TVs, please) and household hazardous waste - view complete event information at VPPSA online

Isle of Wight County

Check back later for details!

James City County

Who: Open to the public
What: 
4th Annual Litter & Recycling Expo
Where: Jolly Pond Convenience Center – 1204 Jolly Pond Road, Williamsburg
Date: November 4, 2017
Time: 11am to 2pm

Who: Open to residents only of Hampton, James City County, Poquoson, Williamsburg, and York County; proof of residency may be required
What: 
VPPSA Household Hazardous Waste & Electronics Recycling
Where: County Drive, Yorktown (off Goodwin Neck Rd)
Date: November 11, 2017
Time: 8am-noon 
What to bring: 
Electronics (no TVs, please) and household hazardous waste - view complete event information at VPPSA online

Newport News

Who: Newport News residents only
What: 
Bulk Recycling of Cardboard & Residential Recyclables
Where:  Recovery Operations Center – 330 Atkinson Way
Date: Year-round, Monday through Saturday (excluding city observed holidays)
Time: 8am-4pm
What to bring: Residential recyclables and bulk cardboard. Electronics and household hazardous waste collected only on Friday and Saturday. For more information, call 886-7947

Who: Newport News residents only
What: 
Residential Recycling Drop-Off Sites
Where:  Hidenwood Fire Station (12455 Warwick Blvd), Fire Station #4 (13561 Jefferson Ave), Brairfield Fire Station #7 (5844 Marshall Ave), Main Street Library (110 Main St), Oyster Point Fire Station #6 (685 Oyster Point Rd)
Date: Year-round
What to bring: Residential recyclables and bulk cardboard. For more information, call 886-7947

Norfolk

Who: Open to the public (Proof of Norfolk residency needed only for electronics and household hazardous waste)
What: 
America Recycles Day
Where: 
Norfolk Waste Management Facility – 1176 Pineridge Road
Date: 
November 18, 2017
Time: 
9am-noon 
What to bring: 
unwanted clothing and décor, electronics, household hazardous waste, general recyclables, documents for secure shredding, and more! For complete details view the event flyer

Poquoson

Who: Open to residents only of Hampton, James City County, Poquoson, Williamsburg, and York County; proof of residency may be required
What: 
VPPSA Household Hazardous Waste & Electronics Recycling
Where: County Drive, Yorktown (off Goodwin Neck Rd)
Date: November 11, 2017
Time: 8am-noon 
What to bring: 
Electronics (no TVs, please) and household hazardous waste - view complete event information at VPPSA online

Who: Open to residents only of Hampton, James City County, Poquoson, Williamsburg, and York County; proof of residency may be required
What: 
VPPSA Household Hazardous Waste & Electronics Recycling
Where: Cooper Elementary School – 200 Marcella Road, Hampton
Date: November 18, 2017
Time: 8am-noon 
What to bring: 
Electronics (no TVs, please) and household hazardous waste - view complete event information at VPPSA online

Portsmouth

Who: Open to the public
What: 
Portsmouth Fall Recycling Day
Where: I.C. Norcom High School - 1801 London Blvd
Date: November 18, 2017
Time: 9am-noon 
What to bring: 
Electronics (no TVs, please), household hazardous waste, documents for shredding and canned goods for donation. For more information please call 757-393-8663.

Suffolk

Who: Open to the public
What: 
Bottle Top Collection Program
Where: Various drop off sites throughout the city to be announced on November 15th – but starting saving them today!
What to bring: Bottle tops that have been rinsed clean. Once enough tops are collected a 4′x8′ collage will be created to raise awareness about recycling and the dangers bottle tops pose to wildlife when they are littered. For more information, contact the Litter Control Coordinator at littercontrol@suffolkva.us

The next Suffolk Recycling Drive is April 7th from 9 am to 1 pm at the Lowes Parking in Downtown (1216 N Main St, 23434)

Virginia Beach

Who: Virginia Beach residents only
What: 
Virginia Beach Residential Recycling Program
Where: Virginia Beach Landfill & Resource Recovery Center - 1989 Jake Sears Road
Date: Year-round, Tuesday through Saturday (excluding city observed holidays)
Time: 7am-4:30pm 
What to bring: 
electronics, metals, household hazardous waste, small household items, clothing/shoes, oyster/clam shells and more - for complete details visit www.vbgov.com/landfill

Williamsburg

Who: Open to residents only of Hampton, James City County, Poquoson, Williamsburg, and York County; proof of residency may be required
What: 
VPPSA Household Hazardous Waste & Electronics Recycling
Where: County Drive, Yorktown (off Goodwin Neck Rd)
Date: November 11, 2017
Time: 8am-noon 
What to bring: 
Electronics (no TVs, please) and household hazardous waste - view complete event information at VPPSA online

York County

Who: Open to residents only of Hampton, James City County, Poquoson, Williamsburg, and York County; proof of residency may be required
What: 
VPPSA Household Hazardous Waste & Electronics Recycling
Where: County Drive, Yorktown (off Goodwin Neck Rd)
Date: November 11, 2017
Time: 8am-noon 
What to bring: 
Electronics (no TVs, please) and household hazardous waste - view complete event information at VPPSA online

Who: Open to residents only of Hampton, James City County, Poquoson, Williamsburg, and York County; proof of residency may be required
What: 
VPPSA Household Hazardous Waste & Electronics Recycling
Where: Cooper Elementary School – 200 Marcella Road, Hampton
Date: November 18, 2017
Time: 8am-noon 
What to bring: 
Electronics (no TVs, please) and household hazardous waste - view complete event information at VPPSA online

Posted in: Community events, Reduce reuse and recycle

Share a link to this article with someone you know. Fill out the form below to send it to them.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

avatar

Imagine a Day Without Water

Posted on October 8, 2017 by | Comments Off

Our Water SystemsWe’ve had a very active hurricane season this year and so far Hampton Roads has been spared. But you don’t have to look far to see what life without water services would look like. For those with hurricane damage in the most remote areas, like Puerto Rico or Key West, the recovery effort to restore everyday utility services may be a long road. And as our thoughts are with those recovering from these catastrophic storms, we recognize the “Imagine a Day Without Water” campaign on Thursday, Oct. 12, to express our gratitude for the robust water and wastewater infrastructures that keep Hampton Roads flowing.

Imagine waking up in the morning to find the tap has gone dry. What would you miss most? Your morning cup of coffee? A hot shower? Cooking your favorite meal? How about the pitiful look on your pets’ faces when they realize there’s nothing for their water bowl? Whatever you’d miss most, the reality is that for the 1.7 million residents of Hampton Roads, access to clean, reliable tap water is as simple as turning on the tap. Water and wastewater services are one of the most reliable public services and we depend on these systems for growing our food, running our schools and hospitals, and fueling the economy and local entrepreneurship.

VB Utilities 2

Photo credit: Virginia Beach Public Utilities

Our region’s hard-working water and wastewater systems bring clean water to us and take sewage away to be treated before it is released safely back into the environment. But it’s not just water that you support with your monthly water and wastewater bill. While water falls from the sky and flows through our rivers, it is far from free. Collecting, storing, treating, and bringing water to and from our homes and businesses cost millions of dollars each year. Here in Hampton Roads, our public water systems are supported by 12 drinking water treatment plants with over 50 wells and 21 reservoirs storing over 34 billion gallons of water. And once we’ve used that water, more than 1,500 pump stations carry our sewage to the 10 wastewater treatment plants across the region. Just like our transportation routes, our region’s 6,500 miles of water distribution pipelines and over 5,800 miles of sanitary sewer lines need ongoing maintenance so that the reliable services they provide can continue uninterrupted.

VB Utilities 1

Photo credit: Virginia Beach Public Utilities

Investments in infrastructure range from smaller replacement project to large scale initiatives. HRSD’s Sustainable Water Initiative for Tomorrow (SWIFT) will take highly treated water that is normally discharged into local rivers and put it through additional treatment to raise it to drinking water standards. The water can then be injected into the Potomac Aquifer, creating a sustainable water resource for future generations, while simultaneously addressing land subsidence and saltwater intrusion. Smaller projects, like the Beach Road replacement project in the Fox Hill area of Hampton, focus on replacing aging water mains with new lines that reduce the potential for leaks and breaks.

While our region’s water and wastewater systems may be out of sight, they should not be out of mind. On Oct. 12, join askHRgreen.org, your local water utilities and groups across the country as we recognize the “Imagine a Day Without Water” campaign and the important role our underground water and wastewater systems play in delivering water services that fuel our economy, quality of life and vital health and public safety services. We invite you to join us in this effort by:  

  1. Giving up one activity that day that involves water and see what it’s like to go without. 
  2. Going  to www.shareH2o.org and consider a gift to the Help 2 Others (H2O) Program, a local 501(c)3 organization that assists families in danger of losing residential water service because of an unexpected crisis.
  3. Visiting one of our local water reservoirs to see firsthand where your water comes from and the trip it must make to be delivered to your home.  
  4. Discussing the importance of our region’s ongoing investment in this critical infrastructure by joining the conversation at facebook.com/askHRgreen.

 An investment that ensures our region’s public health, safety and economic vitality is one that should be maintained. It’s hard to imagine living without it.

idww17_face_imagine (2)

Posted in: Clean and safe tap water, Community events, HR Green campaign updates, Using water wisely

Share a link to this article with someone you know. Fill out the form below to send it to them.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

avatar

Bay Star Homes Fall Workshops

Posted on September 27, 2017 by | Comments Off

BSHFallWorkshop_logoHampton Roads residents have two chances in October to attend a free fall workshop presented by Bay Star Homes.

On October 16 and 17, Bay Star Homes will host workshops on fall tips for native tree selection and care and a variety of pollution prevention topics to help keep our region clean and beautiful.

Each attendee will receive a FREE TREE just for attending and two lucky attendees will each take home a FREE RAIN BARREL.

Registration is free and open to anyone but space is limited, so sign up today by clicking on the links below.

Bay Star Homes Fall Workshop in Newport News
Topics: Fall Gardening and Tree Care Basics: Planting, Pruning and Selection & Preventing Pollution: One Bay Star Home at a Time 
Monday, October 16
6:00 – 8:00 pm
Denbigh Community Center
15198 Warwick Blvd, Newport News
click here to register

Bay Star Homes Fall Workshop in Chesapeake
Topics: Fall Tips for Native Tree Selection and Care, Keeping Hampton Roads Beautiful & Stormwater Basics
Tuesday, October 17
6:00 – 8:00 pm
Hampton Roads Planning District Commission
723 Woodlake Drive, Chesapeake
click here to register

These free workshops are made possible by a grant from the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund. You can support restoration activities in Virginia, such as this, by purchasing a Chesapeake Bay license plate.

Posted in: Beautification, Community events, Gardening, Going Green, Lawn and landscape, Outdoor tips

Share a link to this article with someone you know. Fill out the form below to send it to them.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

avatar

My Messy (on Purpose) Garden

Posted on September 19, 2017 by | Comments Off

suburbs

Tidy lawns – but where’s the habitat?

If a stranger were to pass by my house, they may think my yard is unkempt. The blanket flowers and coreopsis are sprawling and leggy. The seedheads of cone flowers are not trimmed back. The butterfly bush grows just a bit unevenly. Look closely and you may even see the remnants of leaves from LAST fall in the flowerbed. But what you wouldn’t know by just looking at my yard is that it’s messy on purpose.

I saw a great article recently from the Habitat Network promoting messy gardens. The Habitat Network allows people across the country to connect with tools and resources to help improve the wildlife value of residential landscapes. And how oh-so-important that is now that homeowner associations rule the land. It isn’t that a “working” yard suffers from a lack of care or maintenance. It’s quite the opposite, in fact. Those who let their yard complement their local environment are caring for all the residents of the neighborhood – big and small. Nature is a little messy — and our yards should be too!

So why should you get messy?

  • Native plants protect natural resources because they thrive in this region without needing extra water, fertilizer or chemical pesticide.
  • Seedheads left on dried flowers are an important food source for song birds and migratory birds.
  • Dead limbs and fallen leaves provide habit for wildlife including overwintering insects like ladybugs, butterflies and bees.
  • Gardens can be “alive” all year if we embrace lazy gardening.

Goldfinch & ConeflowerI’ve seen big changes in my yard since we went messy. We have a family of gold finches that started frequenting our yard this spring. The rabbits love the dense cover of our shrubs and raised their babies in our yard. We’ve seen hummingbirds, Monarch caterpillars, swallow-tail butterflies and even a hawk that likes to perch on our fence at midday. All this smack-dab in the middle of suburban Hampton Roads. So let your garden get messy and see what wildlife will show up for a visit.

Want to get messy? Here’s what to do:

  • Plant native plants that invite wildlife and insects to your yard.
  • Don’t remove spent flowers or berries from plants visited by wildlife.
  • Mulch mow your grass and rake fallen leaves into the mulched areas of your yard.
  • Ditch chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
  • Reserve your yard maintenance for early spring when temperatures have reached at least 50 degrees for several days. This will protect any wildlife that has called your yard home during winter.

 Everything you need to know for creating a “working” habitat in your yard is available from the Habitat Network.

Posted in: Beautification, Gardening, Going Green, Outdoor tips

Share a link to this article with someone you know. Fill out the form below to send it to them.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

 

  • This is exciting stuff! Get email notifications when new blog posts have been made.
  • LOOKS LIKE FUN!