Mayor’s Water Conservation Challenge Results

The results are in! Eden Prairie finished 23rd in our population category of the 2015 National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation.

The water challenge is a friendly competition between cities across the United States to see who can be the most “water-wise.” Every April, mayors from across the nation challenge their residents to conserve water, energy and other natural resources on behalf of their cities through a series of online pledges. The cities with the highest percentage of residents who take the challenge in their population category win – and participants from those winning cities are eligible to win hundreds of prizes.

The National Water Challenge Campaign was created by the Wyland Foundation and has grown into a huge competition with more than 1,000 cities from all 50 states participating each year. Eden Prairie first participated in 2012.

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Finishing 23rd isn’t too shabby; especially considering this is a national campaign. Congratulations to the City of Poway, California (a suburb of San Diego) who took first place.

I would like to thank everyone who participated in this year’s challenge and encourage all of us to continue thinking of ways to reduce our water and energy consumption. As evidenced by the fact that the 2015 pledges combined to save more than 1,500,000,000 gallons of water… individual efforts really do make all the difference.

Think Before You Flush

You may have seen the recent news coverage of how “flushable” wipes are causing issues for municipal sewer systems all over the nation. The New York Post first reported this issue because of the problems the City of New York is having with non-biodegradable material clogging their pipes. This same issue has hit closer to home, too – KSTP recently reported that the City of Wyoming, Minn. is suing the maker of flushable wipes, claiming that their advertising is leading people astray.

The problem is, though the wipes are marketed as “flushable,” they often do not degrade quickly enough to safely go through the sewer system. This eventually results in clogged pipes, which translates to increased maintenance costs – and sometimes those increased costs are significant. Wipes are not the only issue, however. Other products causing problems include pop-off scrubbers on toilet-cleaning wands, feminine hygiene products, disposable cleaning products, and even facial tissue and thicker toilet paper.

Here in Eden Prairie, we have also noticed an increase in the number of instances flushable wipes and other non-biodegradable materials are becoming trapped in our sewer system. Just like everywhere else, City crews are doing additional maintenance to prevent sewage backups.

Check out this video from the Water Environment Federation that demonstrates the significant damage non-biodegradable materials can do to a sewer system – and please, think twice before flushing such materials down the drain.

 

Quality of Life Survey

At the March 31 City Council meeting we were briefed on our 2014 Quality of Life Survey results. The survey data was collected by the National Research Center (NRC) at the end of 2014. This is a new company we are using because of the value-added services we are now able to receive.

Not only are we able to receive valuable feedback from our residents and compare it to prior years in Eden Prairie, we can now see detailed comparisons to other similar-sized cities throughout the United States.

The data in this survey will once again assist us in creating our 2016-2017 City budget and our future City work plans.

You can view our complete survey results by clicking here [PDF].

You can also watch an overview of the survey results from that City Council meeting below.

EPy Awards

Here at the City of Eden Prairie we conduct citywide employee recognition events in the spring and fall of each year. Yesterday was our spring recognition event where we also presented our annual employee awards, known as the “EPys.”

Prior to awarding the EPys, Mayor Nancy Tyra-Lukens started the event with a welcome and a few words of appreciation for our employees.  We then welcomed some new employees to our City before honoring many of our current employees who have reached milestones in their years of service with the City.

The award ceremony then followed, congratulations to these 2015 award recipients:

  • Doug Tucker, Senior Center: Carl J. Jullie Award for Excellence in Customer Service
  • David Gandrud, Fire: Mayor Jean L. Harris Award for Community Service in Eden Prairie
  • Molly Koivumaki, Housing and Community Services: Mayor Jean L. Harris Award for Community Service Outside of Eden Prairie
  • Aditi Salunke, Information Technology: James G. Clark Award for Excellence in Teamwork
  • Carter Schulze, Engineering: Scott H. Neal Award for Excellence in Leadership.
  • Steve Velner, Police; Ted Vernon, Facilities; Chuck Schaitberger, Fire; and Tim Fadden, Inspections: City Manager Quality Awards

Pictured (L to R):  Doug Tucker, Steve Velner, David Gandrud, Aditi Salunke, Carter Schulze, Rick Getschow, Ted Vernon, Tim Fadden, Chuck Shaitberger

2015 EPy Winners

 

 

Road Salt Rage

Back in 2010, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency more than doubled the number of Minnesota waters that are listed as impaired for chloride. A vast majority of that chloride comes from road salt, which is now considered a water pollutant. The chloride from the road salt enters our surface waters and groundwater after snow melts and is harmful to fish, insects and plants. While progress has been made, the State of Minnesota feels that there is still much work to do in order to meet water quality standards and achieve a high level of road safety.

For this reason, the Eden Prairie Streets Division has adopted a few methods of snow removal that are helping to protecting the environment.

These methods include:

  1. Pre-wetting with road salt to help it stick to the roads and minimize runoff
  2. Performing anti-icing for a quicker recovery time to get to bare pavement
  3. Using mechanical removal with snow plows as opposed to dumping more road salt
  4. Plowing at the onset of a storm as opposed to after an event, which results in the need for less road salt to melt ice-packed roads.

It should also be stated that these are best practices for an overall snow removal program — not just methods to reduce salt usage.

For more information about the salt issue, check out this video produced by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.