The City of Columbia and Richland County are seeking community volunteers to help mark storm drains in April as a part of the “My River Starts Here” campaign.
Local waterways – creeks, streams, lakes and rivers – are affected by pollutants that flow into storm drains. To alert the public that rainwater is the only thing that should go down storm drains, volunteers will adhere round medallions to drains during Storm Drain Marking Month.
While the medallions for each local government differ slightly, both include the image of a fish and water with “No Dumping/Drains to River” stamped in large letters.
“It is important for the community to understand where our water goes after a heavy rain or flood event,” says Jennifer Satterthwaite, Utility Communication Coordinator for the City of Columbia. “It’s also important for residents to understand that litter, over fertilizing their gardens and lawns, and other pollutants left on the ground or poured into storm drains has a negative impact on our local streams and rivers.”
Stormwater pollutants – such as motor oil, construction run-off, chemicals, cigarette butts, and pet waste – can end up in local waterways and negatively affect water quality and harm aquatic plants and fish.
Another way City residents can help protect area waterways is to help keep storm drains free of debris.
“Leaves, litter, and yard waste can clog drains and lead to flooding,” Satterthwaite said. “Taking a few moments to unblock a storm drain in your neighborhood by sweeping or raking away debris can help prevent street flooding and also protect nearby creeks and streams.”
To volunteer to mark storm drains, contact the City at 803-545-0184 or email [email protected]. To learn more about how to keep waterways clean or where to report a stormwater concern, visit www.MyRiverStartsHere.org.