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johnson county residents

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

Lineage Logistics Facility at New Century AirCenter

Some questions have been raised about the planned Lineage Logistics cold storage facility at the New Century AirCenter Industrial Park. It will be a warehouse where frozen foods are received, stored and then distributed; it will not manufacture or process any chemicals. The facility will use anhydrous ammonia only as a refrigerant in a closed loop system inside the facility to maintain the necessary level of cold temperatures. Anhydrous ammonia is commonly used as a refrigerant in similar facilities that store or process food and beverage products. It also is widely used in agriculture for growing farm crops. See FAQs for more information on this site.

‘Hot’ tips for summer lawn care

Summer arrived on June 21. As weather patterns change day-to-day, Johnson County Research and Extension offers steps to help your lawn survive an onslaught of summer heat.

Mow high

First, check your mowing height. Cool season grasses such as bluegrass and tall fescue should be mowed high during warm periods. The recommendation is no lower than 3 inches. Mowing high decreases heat and drought stress by increasing the natural defense mechanism. Longer leaf blades provide a shading of the soil helping to reduce the soil temperature and moisture loss. These conditions favor root growth which is vital for increased summer tolerances.

Mowing higher reduces the amount of water used by the plant, and the grass stays green longer. In fact, if you do not believe this is beneficial, do your own test. Mow a strip at 2 inches and another area at 3 inches. Wait for the first signs of stress to appear and see which wilts first. You will be amazed how this works and it is so easy.

Keep the mower blade sharp

In addition to the proper mowing height, make sure the blade is sharp. A dull blade rips the grass blade resulting in increased moisture loss and excess browning to the grass leaf. A dull cut often leaves the grass with a whitish appearance to the lawn. Sharpen or replace the lawn mower blade on a regular basis as a part of regular overall turf and mower maintenance.

Don't fertilize in summer

Lastly, for summer maintenance, avoid the use of fertilizers. Fertilizing cool season grass during the summer greatly increases the lawn’s need for moisture and decreases its adaptability to high temperatures.

The best time to fertilize bluegrass and tall fescue is in the fall months, September and November. In fact, spring applications should be avoided unless the lawn will be well watered during the summer months. Spring fertilization provides little benefit to the grass plant except to make the grass green, often resulting in lush growth. This lush growth increases mowing requirements.

Learn more at the extension office’s website.

August is Water Quality Awareness Month

August in Kansas brings to mind thoughts of the “dog days of summer” when people look to find relief from the heat with a refreshing glass of ice water or cooling off by boating and swimming in a nearby lake. August is also National Water Quality Awareness Month, which is a time to examine our actions to make sure we're doing everything we can to protect our most precious resource throughout the year.

Actions we take every day have the potential to negatively impact water quality.

Make these water-friendly choices to do your part:

  • Never litter.
  • Pick up pet waste and dispose of it in the trash.
  • Take used oil, leftover paint and other household chemicals to Household Hazardous Waste collection sites.
  • Fertilize according soil test results and only use what your lawn needs. Soil tests are free for Johnson County residents (limited quantity)!
  • Mulch or bag grass clippings and leaves — never blow them into the street or storm drains.
  • Never flush prescription drugs; instead, find a drug take-back location for proper disposal. 

If you are unsure where to take items to be recycled, visit RecycleSpot.org, a local, comprehensive recycling resource. 

Prevent illness, manage left behind storm debris

Last week’s heavy rains wreaked havoc on many Johnson County homes and businesses. On Thursday, Chairman Eilert signed a declaration of local disaster to assist county staff and residents in clean-up efforts.

Johnson County Department of Health and Environment (JCDHE) offers the following tips to prevent injury and illness during cleanup and how to manage and remove the debris and trash left behind.

  • Wear rubber boots, rubber gloves, and goggles during cleanup of an affected area.
  • Get a tetanus shot if you haven’t had one in the last 10 years or can’t remember the last time you got one. You can get one at most doctors’ offices, pharmacies, urgent care clinics and at the Department of Health and Environment’s two walk-in clinics in Olathe (11875 S. Sunset Drive) and Mission (6000 Lamar Ave.).
  • Flood waters can displace animals, insects and reptiles. Be alert and avoid contact.
  • Wash clothing and all hard surfaces with hot water and detergent. Discard items that cannot be washed and disinfected (such as mattresses, carpeting and carpet padding, rugs, upholstered furniture, cosmetics, pillows, baby toys, stuffed animals, foam-rubber items, books, wall coverings and most paper products).
  • Excessive moisture and standing water can contribute to the growth of mold. Be sure to properly dry out ceilings, walls and floors.
  • Cover open wounds with a waterproof bandage to avoid infection. Keep open wounds as clean as possible by washing with soap and water. Seek immediate medical attention if a wound develops redness, swelling or drainage.

Items that are not accepted at the curb, such as paint, cleaners, household chemicals and fluorescent light bulbs, may be brought to the Johnson County Household Hazardous Waste site for disposal. Make an appointment to drop off for these items, as well as non-working appliances and electronics.

 

Tips to stay safe, manage debris after a flood

The past week’s heavy rain and floods have wreaked havoc on many Johnson County homes and businesses. The Johnson County Department of Health and Environment (JCDHE) offers the following tips to prevent injury and illness during cleanup and how to manage and remove the debris and trash left behind.

  • Wear rubber boots, rubber gloves, and goggles during cleanup of an affected area.
  • Get a tetanus shot (Td or Tdap) if you haven’t had one in the last 10 years or can’t remember the last time you got one. You can get one at most doctors’ offices, pharmacies, urgent care clinics and at the Department of Health and Environment’s two walk-in clinics in Olathe (11875 S. Sunset Drive) and Mission (6000 Lamar Ave.).
  • Flood waters can displace animals, insects and reptiles. Be alert and avoid contact.
  • Wash clothing and all hard surfaces with hot water and detergent. Discard items that cannot be washed and disinfected (such as, mattresses, carpeting and carpet padding, rugs, upholstered furniture, cosmetics, pillows, baby toys, stuffed animals, foam-rubber items, books, wall coverings and most paper products).
  • Excessive moisture and standing water can contribute to the growth of mold. Be sure to properly dry out ceilings, walls and floors.
  • Cover open wounds with a waterproof bandage to avoid infection. Keep open wounds as clean as possible by washing with soap and water. Seek immediate medical attention if a wound develops redness, swelling or drainage.

James Joerke, JCDHE deputy director, advises residents and business owners to contact their local city or trash company to find out how much trash and debris can be placed at the curb and if any large item collections are being planned.

“Always ask about fees for these type of additional pick-ups,” says Joerke. “If you have a large quantity of trash, you may need to rent a dumpster and pay to have it hauled to a landfill.”  

Items that are not accepted at the curb, such as paint, cleaners, household chemicals and fluorescent light bulbs, may be brought to the Johnson County Household Hazardous Waste site for disposal. Make an appointment to drop off for these items, as well as non-working appliances and electronics: https://jocogov.org/dept/health-and-environment/environment/hazardous-materials/accepted-items

Safety after a Flood: https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/floods/after.html

Mold after a Disaster: https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/mold and https://www.epa.gov/mold/floods-and-mold-growth

 

Tire recycling for JoCo residents on Saturday

Recycle your old, worn or unwanted car, truck or bike tires! Johnson County Department of Health and Environment is hosting a tire recycling event on Saturday, April 8 from 8:00 to 11:30 a.m. at our Household Hazardous Waste facility at 5901 Jim Bills Road in Mission. 

This event is for Johnson County residents only and no commercial drop-offs are allowed. Limit seven tires per household. For more information, visit jocogov.org and search "tire recycling," Johnson County Recycles' Facebook page or call Todd Rogers at 913-715-6904.

Sign up for a rain barrel workshop

Rain barrels reduce the amount of stormwater runoff by collecting roof runoff and storing the rainwater for future use. Want to learn about rain barrels and construct your own to take home for free? Sign up to attend an upcoming rain barrel workshop.

Olathe North High School, through a grant from the Johnson County stormwater program, is offering one-hour rain barrel workshops on April 1 and April 15. Each workshop will include an educational presentation by the Geoscience Academy students about stormwater management and the benefit of rain barrels, as well as instruction on and construction of a free rain barrel for each Johnson County homeowner (one per address). The workshops are offered on a first-come-first-served basis, as there is a limit to 25 free rain barrels per class.

April 1

April 15

Johnson County Healthy Yards Expo | April 1

If you want to make conscious choices about your lawn and garden care, the Healthy Yards Expo on Saturday, April 1 is just for you! The environmentally-friendly lawn and garden event highlights many simple and easy practices that can be done to achieve a nice yard while still doing your part to maintain clean water and air and healthy soil in our community. Sponsored by Johnson County K-State Extension, Johnson County Government, and the cities of Lenexa, Overland Park and Shawnee, this free event includes:

  • Educational seminars connecting nature to your backyard
  • Puppet shows for the kids
  • Green vendors
  • Opportunity to talk with representatives from Lenexa, Overland Park, Shawnee, Johnson County and K-State Extension
  • Native plants and tree seedling giveaways
  • Door prizes

Join us from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Shawnee Civic Center, located at 13817 Johnson Drive in Shawnee. For complete details visit Johnson County K-State Research and Extension's website.

Can I recycle this?

It's super bowl weekend, which means lots of parties, pizza-ordering and yes . . . trash. It can be tricky to remember what can and can't go in your recycling bin, so the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment has put together a handy list of the top 10 most confusing items, published in the most recent issue of JoCo Magazine. Here are some tips that might come in handy this weekend: 

  • Pizza boxes? YES. You can remove greasy spots, cheese and other food contaminates first. If your pizza box is clean and doesn’t contain a large amount of grease, it can be recycled in your curbside bin. If it’s too greasy, simply tear off the top for recycling and trash the rest.
  • Plasticware and paper plates? NO. Contrary to popular belief, plastic silverware and paper plates are not recyclable, even when clean. They are not suitable for recycling because of the odd shape of plasticware and the low quality of plastic and paper materials. Reduce waste at your next event by using durable, reusable plates and silverware instead.
  • Red Solo cups? YES. The forgotten verse of that Toby Keith song: finish your drink, make sure it’s empty and recycle your red Solo cup.
  • K-Cups? NO. K-Cups and other single-serve coffees are growing in popularity. While K-Cups are convenient and come in many flavors, because of their size and material components, they should not be recycled. K-Cups belong in the trash.

View the full list on jocogov.org; print it out and post it on the wall near your recycling bin so everyone in your houshold can be in the know!

2017 Environmental Sanitary Code Fee Increases

Under the 2004 Johnson County Environmental Sanitary Code , the Department of Health and Environment (JCDHE) is responsible for regulating private sewage treatment systems, swimming pools and spas in the unincorporated area and within the ten municipalities that have adopted the Code.

The Code establishes the authority to assess various user fees to cover program administration and enforcement costs and to increase fees over time as needed.  View the 2017 Fee increase.