Western Environmental
Testing Laboratory
Spring Forward for Autism

At WETLAB we try to give back to our community in a variety of ways, and we try to honor and participate in causes that are near and dear to our employees hearts.  The Justin Hope Foundation has been a favorite for a few years, because of their outstanding impact in the lives of our community.  Below, one of our employees shares her experience with Justin Hope and their annual race/ fundraiser event, the Spring Forward for Autism. 

WETLAB participating in the Spring Forward for Autism 2017 on Team Zaden.

WETLAB participating in the Spring Forward for Autism 2017 on Team Zaden.

For me, the end of April means a couple things:  nicer temperatures, crazy allergies, and the Spring Forward for Autism.  The last Sunday of April, for the last 3 years, has been all about getting outside and walking/running to raise money for a great cause.  The 5k event is put on by the Justin Hope Foundation, which is a local charity set up to help families of children who are not developing neurotypically (so pretty much any child with a brain developmental disorder).  This year the goal is for the organization to open a respite center, which will provide a place for these families to go for resources and advice.  My family has personally benefited from the events that this organization has put together, giving my son Zaden a chance to do activities during off-hours at fun places so the sensory input would not be too overwhelming.  Hopefully, we at WETLab can continue to support this awesome cause by planning to do the 5k next year.  Last Sunday in April (hint, hint)……

To find out more about the Spring Forward for Autism, or sign up to participate, visit their website here.

At WETLAB, we try to do everything we can to make things easier for our clients environmental testing needs.  One of the biggest ways we do that is with wide-reaching courier routes that run weekly.  Each of our three offices (Sparks, Elko, and Las Vegas) has their own routes, which makes it easier for clients all over Nevada and parts of California to have their samples analyzed in a timely manner.

For a sample of how far WETLAB travels to better serve you, we’ll take a look at the basic weekly schedule of pick-ups from the Sparks office.

Monday: Herlong, Portola, Grass Valley, North Lake Tahoe

Tuesday: Kirkwood, South Lake Tahoe, East Shore, Yerington

Wednesday: Carson City, Bridgeport, Topaz Lake

Thursday: South Shore, Mt. Rose, North Shore, Winnemucca, Round Mountain, Austin

Friday: Winnemucca upon request

If scheduled ahead of time, WETLAB can also provide basic sampling and off-route pick-up!  And when a storm comes, we make a special storm water route available.

 

Call us today at (775) 355-0202 to see how WETLAB can make your sample pick-up and delivery easier.

Participating in events that benefit our community is important to all of us at WETLAB.  Below, one of our lab techs tells us about an event she participated in earlier this year benefiting the Food Bank of Northern Nevada. 

CANstruction – March 5, 2015

Maiya Greenwood

CANstruction is a charity competition where participants design and build giant structures made completely from canned food. At the conclusion of the competition, all of the food is donated to the Food Bank of Northern Nevada. The participants range from engineers and architects to boy scout troops and school students. This year’s event was impressive, exciting and charitable! There were five categories: best meal, best use of labels, structural ingenuity, juror’s favorite, and an honorable mention.

Scouting for Food

“Scouting for Food”

Jurors Favorite Cancraft

Juror’s Favorite- “CANcraft”

Best Meal- "Castle Made of Dreams"

Best Meal- “Castle Made of Dreams”

Best Labels- Give Smore to the food bank

Best Use of Labels- “Give S’more to the Food Bank”

Nevada is home to many beautiful, expansive, and green golf courses.  But, Nevada is also a dry, arid desert which is currently going through a severe drought, and there’s no end in sight.  How are these two seemingly irreconcilable realities coexisting?  Well, that’s a multi-faceted answer.

Golf courses go hand-in-hand with Nevada’s hospitality and luxury industries, and companies would be hard pressed to simply let their green investments die a brown, crunchy death.  So companies, and courses, have gotten a little creative.  While they started with the obvious measures of reducing overall usage, and examining pipes for leaks, the reduction was simply was not enough.  Golf courses have now started using treated effluent water as a means for watering their massive lawns.  Many courses in Nevada, especially those lining the Las Vegas strip, have used gray water for several years, but effluent water is a newer usage concept.  Effluent water differs from gray water in that it must be more treated, since it can contain sewage.  Using effluent water, instead of fresh water or even gray water, means a reduction of demand for potable water, which in turn means that our dwindling water supply can hold out a bit longer.

Northern Nevada golf courses have capitalized on the use of treated effluent water as a means to water their grass.  It’s clear that the water-saving measure isn’t negatively impacting the golf courses, too, because the lawns are bright green and thriving.  You just have to drive by Washoe County’s Sierra Sage Golf Course in Stead to see that this is a great way to water the turf.  Sierra Sage gets their water from the City of Reno’s Stead Water Reclamation Facility, where the effluent water is treated to the point where it is no longer dangerous, but still not potable.

Another impact of this ever-worsening drought?  Shorter winters mean more time on the putting green.

 

WETLAB tests effluent water for EPA compliance, and water for golf courses is no exception.  WETLAB will also test all of your runoff and fertilizer samples, call (775) 355-0202 for more information.

In this blog, we spend much of our time talking about water quality testing news, science and politics that we find interesting; but with this month’s blog, we decided to do something a little different.

Here at WETLAB we care about maintaining and improving water quality, above and beyond our roll in monitoring it. When we came across some tips for average citizens to help from www.cleanwateraction.org, we thought it was a great fit.

First is some news that’s been getting quite a bit of attention in the last few years: Don’t flush medicines, pharmaceuticals or personal care products down the toilet or down the drain. That includes anything from over-the-counter drugs to cosmetics and even sun screen or vitamins. They can all impact both the environment and our drinking water down the road.
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Don’t use antibacterial soaps when you don’t need to. These products often contain chemicals that harm aquatic life, and can lead to antibiotic resistant germs.

Don’t put motor oil, detergents, fertilizers, pesticides or anything but water down storm drains. And speaking of motor oil, fix any drips or leaks on your car or truck so it doesn’t wash into the water supply with the rain.

Try to use natural gardening products over pesticides or chemical fertilizers. The same goes for inside the home–stay away from toxic household products in cleaning and home care.

Pick up after your pets! Their waste contains bacteria that can end up in the water supply when it’s washed down the storm drain.

Pave less of your property. The more water runs across pavement instead of seeping down into the soil, the greater chance it has to pick up pollutants, pick up speed and cause flooding or erosion.

These are just a few tips we thought were worth sharing. Please add your ideas by commenting on this post or on our Facebook page.

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Earlier this winter, we took a look at a promising beginning to the winter’s snowpack and corresponding water storage after big December storms.

Our January WETLAB blog reported end-of-December totals of 112 percent water content in the Sierra Snowpack that feeds the Truckee River and the Reno-Northern Nevada area downstream. At the time, that put us at 53 percent of the year’s total.

Fast forward to the end of February, and the picture is a little different – because the water is about the same. Yes, the months of January and February were the driest ever recorded for the Northern Sierra since modern records were first kept in 1920, according to the San Jose Mercury News, putting us at only 66 percent of normal to date.

Snowfall, stored in the Sierra to melt throughout the spring and summer as one of the major water sources for both Nevada and California, has been blocked by a ridge of high pressure off the West Coast for the last two months, driving storms up into Canada, and dropping them into the Midwest.

And accordingly, water officials are tightening their belts. The Walker River Irrigation District said farmers might receive about half of what they received last year, even though last year was also a below average year for water in the Sierra snowpack, according to the Reno Gazette Journal.

That – despite this year’s snowpack holding more water than last year – is due to drawn-down reservoir levels, according to Federal Watermaster Jim Shaw.

“I hate to bear crappy news, but being an old farmer, it doesn’t look very good,” Shaw said in the RGJ article. “If it’s any consolation, it’s this way clear across the U.S., from the Mississippi River west.”

While the April 1 deadline for measuring Sierra snowpack and water stored therein is quickly approaching, some local forecasters aren’t quite ready to write this winter off.

Snow Forecaster Bryan Allegretto of opensnow.com writes that, depending on which forecasting model you look at, there’s still a chance at feet of snow before the month of March is up.

The bottom line – if you’re an optimist, it’s not over until its over, but if you’re not, we’re unlikely to make up for the ground lost in January and February.

2012 Snapshot Day – Getting a Complete Water Quality Picture of Reno/Tahoe

Reno Tahoe residents, want to roll up your sleeves and do something about water quality in our region? The 8th annual Water Quality Snapshot Day needs volunteers Saturday, May 10.

This is a cause near and dear to our hearts here at Western Environmental Testing Laboratory – WETLAB, and we’ve worked as team leaders since the beginning. But you don’t need to be a water quality expert – you just need to care about our regions rivers, lakes and streams.

The idea is to get volunteers from all around Lake Tahoe and along the Truckee River to Pyramid Lake to take water quality samples in order to create a holistic picture of our region’s water. The event not only provides valuable data to area researchers on a large scale, but it’s also a great excuse to get outside and enjoy our region’s beautiful waterways!

All you have to do is meet for a brief orientation at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, May 10. Reno area volunteers will meet at Bartley Ranch Regional Park, 6000 Bartley Ranch Road.

Truckee area volunteers will meet at the Sagehen Field Station, about 10 miles north of Truckee on Highway 89 North.

North Lake Tahoe volunteers will meet at Sierra Nevada College in Incline Village, and South Lake Tahoe volunteers will meet at the Lake Tahoe Community College cafeteria.

Volunteers will be lead by trained group leaders, fanning out across our watershed to various locations on a variety of streams and tributaries, testing for dissolved oxygen, conductivity, pH and temperature, also collecting water samples for laboratory analysis of nutrients, sediments and bacteria. All this data will give important insights into the health of our waterways. You’ll also learn interesting information about our watershed from your team leader.

To sign up as a volunteer, call Mary Kay Riedl at 775-687-9454 for Reno area, Beth Christman at 530-550-8760 for the Truckee area or Susie Kocher at 530-542-2571 for Lake Tahoe.

Map showing the Truckee River drainage basin.

Map showing the Truckee River drainage basin. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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