Thursday, February 14, 2019

BLOG: Scholarships for the Next Generation of Groundwater Professionals

Fostering the next generation of groundwater industry professionals is an important part of the work we do at the Groundwater Foundation. Now there are two Groundwater Foundation scholarship programs are available to help students pursuing careers in the groundwater industry.

Len Assante Scholarship Program
The Len Assante Scholarship Program was developed to nurture and support those who wish to pursue and advance careers involving the protection, distribution, remediation, and responsible utilization of groundwater resources.

Scholarships are for full-time students only (including high school seniors who are applying for scholarships to be used in their first quarter or semester of post-secondary study). Scholarship amounts are dependent on available funds annually.

Len Assante Scholarship applicants must be enrolled in a program that is groundwater industry-related, including (but not limited to):

  • hydrogeology
  • water resource management
  • water well construction and supply
  • geology

The application period for the Len Assante Scholarship Program opens February 1, 2019 and all applications must be submitted by April 15, 2019.

Find the downloadable scholarship application form and information on the Groundwater Foundation’s website.

Farvolden Scholarships
Farvolden Scholarships are made in memory of Robert Farvolden of the University of Waterloo and former National Ground Water Association Director of Science and Technology. Farvolden Scholarships are made possible by support from S.S. Papadopulos & Associates, Inc.

Farvolden Scholarships are for full-time students that submit an abstract for a poster/platform presentation at NGWA’s Groundwater Week Summit. All such students whose abstracts are accepted for presentation will be evaluated at the event by two or more judges. The four students with the highest scores will receive the Farvolden Scholarships. Four $500 Farvolden Scholarships are awarded annually.

Farvolden Scholarship applicants must be enrolled in a program that is groundwater industry-related, including (but not limited to): 
  • hydrogeology
  • water resource management
  • water well construction and supply
  • geology
To apply, submit a poster session proposal by April 21, 2019. 

If you have any questions about either the Len Assante Scholarship Program or Farvolden Scholarship Program, please contact the Groundwater Foundation at 402-434-2740 or email

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

It's Water-Wise Wednesdays with Frannie the Fish! {Girl Scout Groundwater Patches}

National Groundwater Awareness Week is coming up next month, March 11-16th. One way Girl Scout troops can celebrate is by earning the Girl Scout Groundwater Patches! There are patches and guide books for every grade level so you can keep learning more about groundwater, the water we drink and the water that grows our food.

To earn your “Ask Me About Groundwater” patch, all you need to do is complete two activities from different steps within the booklet. These steps can include anything from upcycled crafts to meeting with water professionals or even conducting your own experiments. Seem too easy? Show everyone that you’re a groundwater expert by completing more activities listed in the book and earn the “Let’s Keep It Clean” patch!

Girl Scout Troop 20605 from the Spirit of Nebraska Council earned their Brownie level groundwater patches while exploring the “WOW!: Wonders of Water” Journey. You can read more about their story or start your own water journey by finding your patch booklet on the Groundwater Foundation's website!

Don't forget to share your progress with Frannie on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Good luck!

Friday, February 1, 2019

BLOG: Curbside Composting

by Catherine Chertudi, City of Boise, Idaho

Nearly 74,000 households now have the opportunity to divert compostable materials from the landfill to a Boise City owned composting facility!

The residential compost collection program was initiated nearly two years ago based upon recommendations from a citizen’s advisory committee to reduce wastes sent to the landfill. The idea took flight when the Ada County Landfill completed a year-long study of waste disposed in the landfill. The city discovered that nearly 46% of all residential wastes placed into the landfill were compostable materials.

Realizing that nearly half of our residential wastes could be diverted and used to make a valuable product created the momentum needed to begin discussions to develop a city-wide compost program.

Collecting compostable materials is easy – the issue was having a site to conduct the composting process. For many years, the city had hoped the private sector would develop a regional compost facility, however with the amount of dairy wastes in the area, a residential compost facility was not seen as a high investment priority. Ultimately, the city and our franchised hauler, Republic Services agreed to partner to design, build and operate a composting facility on city-owned property.

The ideal site was found on a portion of the city’s Twenty-Mile South Farm which is used to manage biosolids. The selected location is not ideal for farming – due to basalt outcrops and rocky ground. However, the site was perfect for composting. About 40 acres have been dedicated to the composting facility which includes a scale, office, receiving and windrow pads. The design incorporates extensive storm water and compost leachate management to protect groundwater. A monitoring plan was also required as part of the site permitting process with the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality and Central District Health Department.

The design and permitting process for the new compost site was nearly 9 months long and required three major revisions to the compost siting application with the Idaho DEQ. Construction of the facility started in April 2017 and will be completed in August. On June 5, 2017 we began delivery of nearly 74,000 wheeled carts to collect the compostable materials and the full cart roll-out was completed July 15th. The first phase of the compost pad opened June 22, 2017 and by July 17 we have already collected and are composting about 1400 tons of yard wastes and kitchen scraps.

The site was designed for about 95 tons per day and we expected to begin with 45 tons per day – we have already seen the results exceed our projections with nearly 66 tons per day collected in the first five weeks of the new program. And, we have reduced trash routes to the landfill by two trucks per day.

The compost process takes about 100 days and the city intends to give back to our customers first – providing free compost and using compost on city properties. Our high-desert soils will benefit from incorporating compost which improves soil and plant health and, most importantly, acts as a sponge to retain water which reduces the need for frequent irrigation during our hot summer months.

Boise residents are supportive and excited about the new composting program – and their commitment to protecting and conserving our great quality of life is evident in their participation in the new program and the low levels of contamination in the compost carts. Reducing wastes and conserving resources is one of our core values in creating a lasting environment for today and for future generations of citizens in our city.

To learn more, visit