Richland County and the City of Columbia 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.
“We really want to spread the word that water that goes down a storm drain isn’t treated before it flows into a stream or river,” said Chenille Williams, Education Program Coordinator for Richland County Stormwater Management. “It’s important to pay attention to what we leave on the ground that can get washed into storm drains when it rains.”
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 residents can help protect Richland County waterways is to help keep storm drains free of debris.
“Leaves, litter and yard waste can clog drains and lead to flooding,” Williams 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 Stormwater Management at 803-576-2491 or email email@example.com. To learn more about how to keep waterways clean or where to report a stormwater concern, visit www.MyRiverStartsHere.org.