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Protect storm drains

Nov 11, 2015 02:10PM ● Published by Neighbors Magazines

Have you ever wondered where exactly the stuff that runs into a storm drain goes? The mysterious pipes hidden beneath those metal grates on your street corner usually connect to a nearby river or creek. In some places, storm drains send water underground, and these aquifers are even harder to clean up than streams. That’s why storm drains are only for the rain and snowmelt! 

You can help ensure that our rivers and drinking water sources are clean by keeping pollution out of neighborhood storm drains. Pledge to keep your storm drain clear of leaves and debris and never dump anything into a storm drain!

1. Keep storm drains clear

City and county crews work to keep storm drains clear, but with thousands of drains across the state, they need your help. You can reduce street flooding by keeping storm drain grates clear of leaves and debris. Here’s how: 

·         Take a look at the storm drain grates in front of your home or business before and right after a rain or snow storm. Check to make sure they are free of leaves and debris.

·         Use a rake or pitch fork to clear leaves and debris from the storm drain. Please use caution! Do not put your feet or hands into the storm drain because dangerous debris could collect there. Do not try to remove the grate, only the debris on top of the grate. Dispose of leaves in your yard waste container or compost bin. 

·         When leaves fall into the street, rake them one foot away from the curb so they won’t block the path of rain water. 

·         If you can’t clean a clogged storm drain yourself, notify your city or county public works department that help is needed. 

2. Never dump in a storm drain

Dumping into a storm drain isn’t just wrong, it’s against the law. Automotive fluid, paint, household materials, pesticides: none of these things should be poured into a storm drain where they end up polluting our rivers and groundwater. Did you know that 90% of stream pollution is due to storm water run-off?

·         Draining your pool or hot tub to the storm drain? Not ok. Better to send it into the sewer via a toilet, sink or tub drain.

·         Washing cars on grass in your yard, or at a car wash will keep the phosphates from entering streams and rivers.

·         Dumping out coffee or soda from your car? Instead of pouring it into the street, pour it onto a lawn or planted area where the soil can soak it up and break it down. Better yet, bring it inside and pour it down the sink.

·         If you change your oil at home, do it over the grass where toxins can sink into the ground slowly, rather than running off the driveway and into the storm drains.  If your car does leak oil onto your driveway, remove it from the surface before it rains.  NEVER pour oil down the storm drain!

·         Disposing of hazardous chemicals? Take hazardous chemicals to a household hazardous waste top-off site. To find one in your area visit earth911.com

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Neighbors Magazines, 28 South Water Street, Batavia, IL 60510, 630-995-3482, www.welcometoneighbors.com
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