Environmental update: A busy year for the city
2018 was a busy year for the Public Works Department’s Environmental Resources Division staff. Some of the division’s outreach activities this year included:
* Four green gardening classes held in April that covered a range of sustainable gardening topics. Presentations from the classes are available online at GreenerDavis.org.
* The city’s monthly Greener Davis email newsletter on greener living in Davis was sent to 18,000 contacts. Email PWWeb@CityofDavis.org to sign up to receive the newsletter.
* Environmental assemblies were provided to seven elementary schools, covering water conservation, stormwater, recycling and other conservation topics.
* Staff participated in Celebrate Davis and Discover Davis.
Highlighted below are some of ERD’s accomplishments in 2018 and the key staff members responsible for those tasks:
Environmental Enforcement: Adam Morrill, Environmental Program Specialist
From Jan. 1 to Dec. 7, staff completed 822 enforcement actions for yard material piles, including reminder notices, notices of violations and three fines. This is a decrease in the number of enforcement actions compared to the previous year.
Remember, small piles of leaves and grass go into the organics cart. The street is for larger branches and overflow piles. Additional organic carts are available for a fee.
Solid Waste and Recycling: Jennifer Gilbert, Conservation Coordinator
In 2018, Recology Davis purchased Davis Waste Removal and became the city’s franchise waste hauler. They continue to operate under the same contract as Davis Waste Removal.
In April, the city held its second annual compost giveaway event where free compost and mulch were available to Davis residents. From January to October, residents and businesses reduced the amount of trash sent to the landfill by 3 percent, compared to the same months in 2017. Thank you for reducing waste, recycling and using your organics cart!
Stormwater Pollution Prevention: Rhys Rowland, Environmental Program Specialist
Staff worked with computer science students from Sacramento State University to design and create two online stormwater quality games as part of their senior project: Find It & Fix It and Protect Or Pollute. Both games are available to play on GreenerDavis.org.
From April to November, staff performed baseline trash surveys along 158 miles of sidewalks and roadways. Staff also performed 125 inspections on 27 active construction sites, 33 stormwater pollution investigations and reviewed erosion and sediment control plans for 39 construction projects.
Urban Wildlife: John McNerney, Wildlife Resource Specialist
In March, staff continued to implement the city Wild Turkey Management Plan by capturing and relocating 12 wild turkeys from the North Davis area.
Staff drafted and adopted a Wildlife Resource Protection Policy for the operations and maintenance of city facilities to protect wildlife and habitat. Staff also worked to address the challenging subject of supplemental feeding of wildlife. Community workshops were held to solicit feedback on a draft ordinance.
Based on feedback from the community meetings, staff will continue to work to expand outreach and education efforts instead of pursuing a wildlife feeding ordinance.
Wastewater Pretreatment: Sandra Macomb, Environmental Program Specialist
With a new specialist on board this year, staff continued restaurant inspections for proper pretreatment best management practices and began working with internal staff to move the program inspection data to a computer database.
Wastewater Quality: Josie Tellers, Water Quality Coordinator
Staff completed the Recycled Water Master Plan, which looks at the possibilities for recycled water usage from the wastewater treatment plant.
The city’s new National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit was adopted by the State Water Board and will become effective early next year. The old wastewater treatment plant ponds were decommissioned for recycled water purposes and pretreatment program evaluation.
Water Conservation: Dawn Calciano, Conservation Coordinator
Staff implemented and promoted the AquaHawk online customer water use online portal for city water customers to view their hourly water usage and set customized usage alerts. Over 1,700 accounts are currently registered for the portal. Registration information is available at SaveDavisWater.org.
Water Quality: Heather Brown, Water Quality Coordinator and Marie Graham, Utility Program Coordinator
This year, over 2,000 water samples were collected and tested to ensure that the city’s tap water meets all State and Federal standards. The drinking water was tested for organic, inorganic, radioactive, and microbial constituents. Our tap water continues to meet all regulatory standards and is safe to drink.
The city’s Public Works Department thanks all the residents and businesses that participate in our environmental programs.
By Richard Tsai
Special to The Enterprise
— Richard Tsai is the City of Davis environmental resources manager; this column is published monthly. Reach him at RTsai@CityofDavis.org.
Cool Davis is a coalition of citizens, the City of Davis, and community organizations working to empower our community to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.