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Elected Officials Learn about Conservation During Fall Tour

On September 24, elected officials climbed aboard a bus for the Annual Scott Watershed Management Organization and Soil and Water Conservation District’s Fall Conservation Tour. The tour is held each year to show our elected officials the progress that has been made in conserving natural resources and to discuss challenges to conservation.

This year the tour focused on pollutants in our water, with an emphasis on chlorides. Chlorides from road salt are a growing concern for water quality in Scott County because chloride is a permanent pollutant. Once salt enters a water body it dissolves but does not disappear, so each winter when salt is spread on the roads the chloride concentration in our local lakes goes up.

The first stop of the tour was the New Prague Wastewater Treatment Plant where Glen Sticha, City of New Prague Public Works Director, gave a tour of the plant and discussed how they have seen an increase in chloride levels in the water.

The tour also stopped at two large raingardens in New Prague, one at City Hall and the other at St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church. These raingardens catch storm water and are planted with native species that have long roots. The roots create passageways for the storm water to infiltrate into the ground which helps to filter out pollutants. The tour’s last stop was a presentation on road salt reduction by Fortin Consulting. There were 25 attendees on the tour including County Commissioner Tom Wolf and State Representative Bob Vogel.

Tour attendees view a raingarden near New Prague City Hall

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