Monday, August 31, 2009
Concerned Residents Stencil Storm Drains
Groups of kids and adults roamed the streets of Detroit with cans of spray paint on Saturday, August 29. No, they are not graffiti artists. They are volunteers for Sierra Club and the People’s Water Board Coalition’s storm drain stenciling project. Volunteers participating in this project marked street curbs near storm drains with a permanent message stating, “Dump No Waste” in an effort to educate residents about storm water pollution. The storm drain stenciling project is one of many activities the People’s Water Board Coalition, which Sierra Club is a member, is organizing to discuss water quality.
Rain washes down streets and parking lots, driveways, and sidewalks, roofs and yards, carrying water and everything it picks up into storm drains. Storm drains are the entry point into a storm sewer system and this system during heavy rain events and snow melts discharges storm water directly to local streams without treatment! It’s called a combined sewage overflow. In 2008, over 33 billion gallons of raw and partially treated sewage polluted the Detroit and Rouge Rivers. Through storm drain stenciling, the People’s Water Board Coalition and Sierra Club hope to increase residents’ awareness about the connection between their yards, storm drains, and the storm sewer system.
It’s important that we reduce the amount of trash, debris, pet wastes, and chemicals carried by storm water. The most basic way to help is to never dump anything you wouldn’t drink or swim in down a storm drain. Other ways to help include picking up pet wastes, replacing pesticides with natural alternatives, properly disposing of household chemicals such as paints and cleaning supplies, sweeping driveways and sidewalks instead of hosing them, and washing cars at car wash facilities or on lawns rather than in driveways.