Tuesday, May 9, 2017

One small pea, one giant step for protecting the planet

I'm not exaggerating - grow one small pea and you're on your way to protecting Earth.
Visiting my mother in South Texas for several months, I had admired her garden - especially the tomatoes. Y-u-m. So pretty, so fun to spy a wee red bulb and pluck it for dinner, if I could wait that long.
So when the opportunity arose to try PittMoss (yes, you're reading that right), which uses recycled newspapers to replace the properties of peat moss and absorb less water, I was onboard. I planted black-eyed peas. Not only was it a fun project - I chose to mix about half PittMoss with dirt/mud - but it worked.
PittMoss was featured on an episode of "Shark Tank", where its inventor Mont Handley discussed the product - what the company says "was developed from seeing the degradation of important peat-lands being harvested for potting soils."
In simple terms, the recycled material is more eco-friendly than traditional peat moss, while both types are working to enhance growth by using less water. The product is supposed to offer an added benefit, purportedly pumping nutrients back into the soil.
I enjoyed my first experience planting anything by myself, but being my first time, don't have enough to compare PittMoss to. That being said, it only took I think two weeks, maybe less, for the first black-eyed pea to appear!
The day before I was to leave Texas, I was out back watering when I jumped for joy. A pea had sprouted! Now, I should mention my mom had bought me five more pots to plant after I'd innocently thought one would be enough - thanks, Mom.
I am sad that I will not be in the garden to see more peas sprout, but happy Mom can enjoy them.
Photo: The author's black-eyed pea sprouts skyward; two still-potted plants (since planted in the soil) are in the foreground.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

EPA Grant of More Than $158,000 to Support Public Drinking Water Systems in Bayou State

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded $158,101 to the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals to support public drinking water systems in the state. According to a press release issued yesterday via e-mail, the funding is part of the agency's "ongoing commitment to assist local drinking water systems in Louisiana."
A recent study by personal finance analysts at WalletHub shows that Louisiana ranks a dismal 44th for water quality.
“Providing safe, reliable drinking water takes the hard work of public servants at local, state, and federal levels,” said Acting Regional Administrator Sam Coleman. “EPA is proud to support LDHH and public water systems in achieving this goal.”
The funds will help LDHH supervise the state’s public water system, including maintaining and evaluating drinking water systems. Other activities supported by the grant include ensuring water systems comply with Safe Drinking Water Act requirements, developing and maintaining regulations, conducting surveys and assessments of water systems, and reviewing and approving water infrastructure projects.
The health department will focus the grant on the heavily touristed New Orleans, as well as Baton Rouge, Thibodaux, Lafayette, and Abita Springs.
Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, EPA assists state, territories, and tribes with their public water system supervision programs, in turn helping these systems provide reliable, safe drinking water to consumers and comply with U.S. drinking water requirements.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons Images. "Cup of café au lait, beignets, milk, and water with ice, on table at original French Quarter location of Café du Monde," by Infromagation.