Mar 27

EnviroFlick “A Plastic Ocean” inspires family to get involved.

Posted on March 27, 2023 at 9:42 AM by Rachel Douglas

Improving Our Community_v3

EnviroFlick “A Plastic Ocean” inspires family to get involved

I want to share the impact the movie “A Plastic Ocean” had on my daughter and myself.

We attended Environmental Services’ EnviroFlick screening of the movie and enjoyed it very much. My daughter is ten and is involved in her school’s Nature Nerd Club. She has been learning about gardening, butterflies and birds. She has absorbed every ounce of education that has been presented to her and has her own bird feeding stations at home now. She plans to create a butterfly garden this spring.

“A Plastic Ocean” had a big impact on her due to her love of nature and birds, especially. Seeing all the plastic in the birds in the film made her want to do something. We talked on the way home from the movie about what we could do. I asked if she had noticed all the trash along the sides of the roads by our house and on the way to school. She said she had and asked if we could pick it up. So, that’s exactly what we did.


We have cleaned up about a half mile alongside the road near our home which happens to be close to the James River. We’ve talked about how this will help the river stay clean and keep the trash away from nature, especially the birds.

I just wanted to share our little story about how the movie had an impact on us that night. We were motivated to do something to help. We plan to keep our rights-of-way clean near our home and cleanup more areas as time allows.

Written By:

Mollie Jessen

Office Administrator
Environmental Services Department
[email protected]
840 N Booneville Ave., Springfield, MO 65802

Mar 21

NACWA Public Service Award - COVID Sewershed Surveillance Project

Posted on March 21, 2023 at 3:42 PM by Rachel Douglas

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NACWA Public Service Award - COVID Sewershed Surveillance Project

The City of Springfield has been recognized by the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) with a National Environmental Achievement Award for Public Service. The award was recently presented at NACWA’s annual conference and I was on hand to accept the award. The Public Service Award recognized the City’s leadership in developing a pilot program to test wastewater for indicators of COVID presence within the community.


The concept of testing human waste streams for information that can inform local health strategies has been under development for some time. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services were interested in expanding the concept to determine if certain bio-markers, shed by people who had contacted COVID, could be used to develop estimates of COVID cases within the community. The concept proved to be successful and the information derived from sewershed surveillance was helpful to health officials in fighting the COVID pandemic.

The wastewater testing results were determined to be a leading indicator, by about 5-7 days, of subsequent case load, since the bio-markers began to be produced and shed before the onset of COVID symptoms in an individual. This provided health professionals and hospitals a planning tool as to what they would soon be experiencing. Additionally, the testing provided an indication of quantity and trend in total COVID cases (including those experienced by individuals that did not get tested and thus were not included in the records of official cases).

As COVID cases were flourishing in 2020, the state reached out to Springfield, along with St. Louis and Kansas City, for help in developing a pilot sewershed surveillance program. Springfield was already experimenting with testing wastewater for this purpose and quickly agreed to join the state’s initiative. The pilot proved so successful that the program, once refined, was expanded to include approximately 100 communities and wastewater districts around the state. Much more information on Missouri’s Sewershed Surveillance Project can be found at .

NACWA is a recognized leader on the full spectrum of clean water issues. The organization represents public wastewater and stormwater agencies of all sizes nationwide. The Member Agency Public Service Award is given to member agencies for their significant local, state, or national voluntary public service related to public utility operation or environmental protection. This year’s Member Agency Public Service Award went to the St. Louis Metropolitan Sewer District, the City of Springfield, and Kansas City Water for their collective work in helping to successfully pilot a sewershed surveillance project for the state of Missouri.

Ron Petering Portrait

Written By:

Ron Petering

Assistant Director

Environmental Services


[email protected]

755 N. Franklin Avenue, Springfield, MO 65802

Jan 23

Winter Home & Environment guide now available!

Posted on January 23, 2023 at 10:38 AM by Rachel Douglas

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SGFNN Blog - Winter

Wintertime is here and 2023 is beginning!

Since it’s cold out and everyone is preparing for snow, it’s important that you know how Environmental Services’ operations may be impacted by winter weather and temperature drops and some tips to combat those affects. Here are some tips to help combat wintertime impacts:


  • Daily wastewater maintenance operations get more difficult in winter just like your morning commute! Snow gets plowed or shoveled on top of manhole covers which makes sewer repairs and maintenance a challenge. As you shovel your driveway and sidewalks, keep those manholes clear of snow and shovel them off so we can maintain and repair the sewer quickly when needed. 


  • City staff receive a lot of citizen reports of improper disposal of leaves this time of year. Remember it is a city code violation to blow, rake, or dump leaves, grass clippings, or other yard waste into the street, ditch, or storm drain. Disposal at the landfill is also prohibited. Mulch-mow leaves or dispose of them at the City recycling center where they will be turned into beneficial compost.

Solid Waste:

  • When conditions are cold, the landfill doesn’t stop operations! This means that our employees have to work in colder and potentially hazardous conditions such as rain, snow, ice, etc. Check the weather before you come to landfill. It’s better to wait a day or two until travel is safer than brave risky conditions on the roads. Landfill staff are not available to help unload, so bundle up and prepare to dispose of your solid waste in cold temperatures.

 If you want to learn more about these and more winter topics and tips, check out the latest issue of Springfield Neighborhood News at


Written By:

ES Staff