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We understand the importance of protecting our planet. Since Johnson County Government created its first sustainability committee in 2004, being mindful of our impact on the environment has become a priority in the construction and maintenance of County buildings. The United States Green Building Council has certified two of our buildings as LEED Platinum and five others as LEED Gold. We’ve expanded our fleet of alternative fuel and Compressed Natural Gas Vehicles and made strides towards ambitious waste goals. We also offer our residents many ways to make sustainability part of their lives through The Jo transit system, and recycling opportunities for Household Hazardous Waste, expired medications and unwanted electronics. Together we can make a difference!

Environmental News

Mother Earth's Day is April 22

People all over the world recognize April 22 as Earth Day, an opportunity to appreciate and generate awareness about the natural environment. Here, at Johnson County, we strive to do our part to make sure our county and planet are healthy for years to come. From building facilities designed to last for more than 100 years, to reducing our energy costs, managing our storm water and treating our wastewater, we're building a community that's better for the environment.

Johnson County - a community of choice for generations to come. 

Ice melts help but can be harmful

  By Dennis L. Patton, M.S., County Horticulture Agent, K-State Research and Extension/Johnson County

Although freshly fallen snow is beautiful, it brings with it patchy ice that can be hazardous for walking and driving.  Beside shoveling and chipping the ice, we often look for other tools to aid in melting the winter precipitation. Several products on the market, commonly referred to as ice melts or de-icers, can be useful in our battle with old man winter.

Ice melts or de-icers

These products can be very effective if used correctly.  But if they are overused or misapplied, they can damage the concrete, as well as nearby plant materials, including the lawn and shrubs.

There are five main materials that are used as chemical de-icers:

  1. calcium chloride,
  2. sodium chloride or salt,
  3. potassium chloride,
  4. urea and
  5. calcium magnesium acetate.

Calcium chloride

The traditional product that has been used is calcium chloride.  It will transform ice into a slippery, slimy surface. This product is effective to about minus 25 degrees.  Plants are not likely to be harmed unless excessive amounts are used.

Sodium chloride or salt

Salt is the least expensive material available.  It is effective to approximately 12 degrees but can damage soil, plants and metals. 

Potassium chloride

Potassium chloride can also cause serious injury when washed or splashed on foliage.  Both calcium chloride and potassium chloride can damage the roots of plants.

Urea

Urea is a fertilizer that is sometimes used to melt ice.  It is much less corrosive than salt but it can still contaminate ground and surface water with nitrates.  Urea can damage plants if overused.  It is effective to about 21 degrees.

Calcium magnesium acetate

Calcium magnesium acetate or CMA is a newer product that is made from dolomitic limestone and acetic acid, the main compound found in vinegar.  CMA works differently than other materials in that it does not form brine like salts, but rather helps prevent snow particles from sticking to each other on the surface.  It has little effect on plant growth or concrete.  The product works best when temperatures remain about 20 degrees.

De-icer Damage

All of these products are acceptable for use.  Limited use of any of these products should cause little damage.  Problems accumulate when they are used excessively and there is not adequate rainfall to wash or leach the material from the area.  It is still best to remove the snow and ice by hand when possible and spot treat with the ice melts, thereby using lesser amounts.

If damage from de-icers is going to occur, it will not be noticeable right away.  Problems are uncovered in the spring when the plants and grass along the walks are dead.  At that point, there is no remedy for the winter problem.

Radon Test Kids $8

Do-It-Yourself Air Chek radon test kits are available at the Johnson County K-State Research and Extension office.

Fee: $8 each (cash or check only) Purchase your radon kits at the Extension office, Monday - Friday, from 8:30 a.m. - 5pm. Map to our office

Note: We are not able to mail or ship test kits.

For questions regarding radon, contact the Kansas radon hotline
at 1-800-693-5343.

Kansas Bureau of Environmental Health
Curtis State Office Building
1000 SW Jackson, Suite 330
Topeka, Kansas 66612-1274
Phone: (785) 296-8092

1-866-865-3233
FAX: (785) 296-5594
BEH@kdheks.gov

Free Online Mapping Training

FREE CLASSES! - AIMS offers free training classes to the public and our partners each month. We have scheduled several classes for the first half of 2014. These classes offer hands-on training on the AIMS Online Mapping application as well as a variety of tips and tricks for getting the most out of the application to help you find what you're looking for. MyAIMS classes offer additional capabilities for our data partners (cities, utilities, etc.) to access information not available to the public, such as recorded documents and utility data. For more information and to enroll, click here.

Commercial Customers May Save Money in Voluntary Program

Johnson County Wastewater's commercial customers may participate in a voluntary program to obtain credit for water which does not enter the department's collection system. In order to receive credit, Johnson County Wastewater requires that this water be continuously metered via a deduct meter. A deduct water meter measures the amount of water not discharging into the sanitary sewer system. This would include water used for lawn sprinkler systems or cooling towers. Here is additional information about the Sewer Use Credit Program.

Johnson County asks homeowners to recycle their lawns

Johnson Count's Department of Health and Environment and Stormwater Management Program have teamed up to inform the public of the importance of recycling their lawns. Johnson County's Recycle Your Lawn campaign encourages homeowners to stop bagging up grass clippings, keep dead leaves out of the storm drain, and return nutrients back onto the lawn by using a mower to mulch the grass and leaves.

"Recycling your lawn is a simple, healthy way to manage yard waste and keep it out of landfills and out of storm drains," says Brandon Hearn, Solid Waste Management Specialist, Johnson County Department of Health and Environment. "Grass clippings decompose quickly and recycle valuable nutrients back to the lawn. Fallen leaves can also be finely chopped with a mulching mower right onto the lawn or placed in a backyard compost bin."

"Dumping leaves and grass clippings in storm drains is not only illegal, it can also severely impact water quality in our rivers and streams and cause flooding," says Heather Schmidt, Johnson County Water Quality Specialist. "Yard waste can carry fertilizers and pesticides from your yard causing pollution and piles of leaves and grass can lead to oxygen depletion in water and ultimately result in fish kills."

Johnson County's Department of Health and Environment and Stormwater Management Program have partnered on RecycleYourLawn.com

 

Residents asked to recycle their lawns

With the upcoming anticipated sunshine and long holiday weekend, Kansas Citians may spend some of next week preparing their lawns for winter. That’s why Johnson County’s Department of Health and Environment and Stormwater Management Program have teamed up to inform the public of the importance of recycling their lawns.

“Dumping leaves and grass clippings in storm drains is not only illegal, it can also severely impact water quality in our rivers and streams and cause flooding,” says Heather Schmidt, Johnson County Water Quality Specialist. ”Yard waste can carry fertilizers and pesticides from your yard causing pollution and piles of leaves and grass can lead to oxygen depletion in water and ultimately result in fish kills.”

Johnson County’s Recycle Your Lawn campaign encourages homeowners to stop bagging up grass clippings, keep dead leaves out of the storm drain, and return nutrients back onto the lawn by using a mower to mulch the grass and leaves.

“Recycling your lawn is a simple, healthy way to manage yard waste and keep it out of landfills and out of storm drains,” says Brandon Hearn, Solid Waste Management Specialist, Johnson County Department of Health and Environment. “Grass clippings decompose quickly and recycle valuable nutrients back to the lawn. Fallen leaves can also be finely chopped with a mulching mower right onto the lawn or placed in a backyard compost bin.”

Johnson County’s Department of Health and Environment and Stormwater Management Program have partnered on RecyleYourLawn.com, with many tips and videos on mulching, backyard composting, and Johnson County’s yard waste rules.

Billing Change for JCW Customers in 2014

In January 2014, Johnson County Wastewater completed a multi-year conversion of its billing method to a unified rate model. This means that the current wastewater bills look similar to other utility bills such as water, gas, and electric and is now in line with industry best practices. The current Johnson County Wastewater charge reflects both the costs to operate its system and to invest/reinvest in the capital improvements necessary to operate the system. 

In 2013, the capital cost was a uniform rate; all single family residences were charged the same capital amount, regardless of the impact they had on the system.  This charge appeared as Capital Charge (EDU) on the bimonthly bill and was $24.76 bimonthly. Prior to 2013, this charge appeared as a line item titled WASTEWTR CAP on the real estate tax statement. 

Under the unified rate model, both operation and capital charges are based on a fixed Service Charge to provide customer service, and a variable Volume Charge based on the volume of water used and discharged to the sanitary sewer system for treatment.

In 2014, Johnson County Wastewater implemented an overall revenue requirement (expenses) increase of 6.5 percent. The amount customers are billed varies from one customer to the next as it is based on their Average Winter Water Usage (AWWU). Those who have a greater impact on the sanitary sewer system will now pay more than those who contribute less. The following table demonstrates how the components of the wastewater bill changed from 2013 to 2014:

2013 Charges:

  • Service Charge (SC):
    • Operations portion of SC = $5.40
    • Capital portion of SC = $0.00
  • Volume Charge:
    • Operations portion of vol. charge = $2.67/1,000 gallons ($0.00267 per gal.)
    • Capital portion of vol. charge = $0.00
  • Capital Charge:
    • EDU fixed capital charge = $148  ($24.67 per bi-monthly bill)   

2014 Charges:

  • Service Charge (SC):
    • O&M portion of SC = $6.33
    • Capital portion of SC= $5.73
  • Volume Charge:
    • O&M portion of vol. charge = $3.27/1,000 gallons ($0.00327 per gal.)
    • Capital portion of vol. charge = $2.24/1,000 gallons ($0.00224 per gal.)

(Please note that Johnson County does not provide tax advice to its customers regarding the deductibility or non-deductibility of its utility charges for federal or state income tax purposes, and advises customers to consult their CPA or other tax professional regarding proper treatment of such charges.)

Follow Johnson County's 9/11 Day of Observance and Service

The first-ever Johnson County Day of Observance and Service on September 11, 2013 was a tremendous day of action.

Hundreds of employees spent their lunch hour working on the WIC community garden, collecting trash, marking storm drains, and learning CPR. There was also an unwanted prescription medication drop-off, a place to recycle old electronics for recycling, and clothing donations for the less fortunate.

Check out how much Johnson County employees accomplished on September 11!

Johnson County Day of Service By the Numbers:

  • Over 200 people participated 
  • 107 pounds of fresh produce harvested from the WIC Community Garden 
  • 35 people trained in CPR, AED, and stroke awareness 
  • Over 700 pounds of clothing and shoes, 77 pairs of glasses, 4 boxes of purses, and 15 bikes collected 
  • Over 12 pallets of electronic waste collected 
  • 20 pounds of medication properly disposed of 
  • 40 stormdrains marked 
  • 300 pounds of food collected 
  • 21 pounds of trash picked up 
  • 21 cars tested for gas leakage 
  • 40 people took a picture with their public commitment (check out the facebook page to see if you recognize anyone) 
  • About $400 raised for Feed the Need from lunch sales 
  • 11 Opportunities to serve in the future

There are many ways to serve beyond the Johnson County Day of Service on 9/11.

Here are 11 examples of how you can make a difference in your community:

  1. Be an election worker (Elections)
  2. Deliver meals to homebound seniors (Meals on Wheels – Human Services)
  3. Mentor a Youth (Corrections)
  4. Donate your time at the book sale (Library)
  5. Lend a hand to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (JCDS)
  6. Attend the Citizen’s Academy (Sheriff Office)
  7. Be an advocate for children and families (Court Services – Supervised Visitation Program)
  8. Decorate crafts or make tray favors for homebound seniors (Human Services)
  9. Be a Golf Course Marshal (Parks and Rec)
  10. Host a food or commodity drive for one of our local food pantries (Human Services)
  11. Spend time with the elderly (Evergreen Community of Johnson County – long term care facility)

Contact Brandy Hodge for more information about how to volunteer. Brandy.Hodge@jocogov.org

HHW event collects tons of paint

September 14th, marked yet another successful Household Hazardous Waste(HHW)/E-waste collection event. More than 300 Johnson County residents disposed of their unwanted cleaners, yard chemicals, used oil, printers, computers and many other items. Nearly 2 tons of usable latex paint was collected and processed, enough to paint over 20 homes in and around Johnson County.

Latex paint is processed on-site by staff and redistributed to the community, while household items that are still usable find a second life in the Reuse Store; where they are available to county residents. Electronic waste is processed by Vintage Tech Recyclers.

Totals From the Event:

  • 14,000 lbs of E-waste recycled 
  • 360 gallons or nearly 2 tons of latex paint redistributed to the community 
  • painting over 20 homes in Johnson and Wyandotte Co. 
  • 173 household items that were reused through the HHW Facility's Reuse Store 
  • over 100 cars participated in gas cap testing

The last collection event of the year is quickly approaching: October 12th. Click here to schedule your appointments.They fill up fast!

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