Pennsylvania’s Storm Drain Marking Project Puts Clean Water Message on the Street
Posted: November 13, 2012
This fall, the Beaver County Conservation District in partnership with the New Brighton Borough staff will install 300 “No Dumping, Drains to River” metal markers to make people aware of the fact that storm drains are not connected to a public sewer system, but flow directly to the Beaver River. As a result, anything but rain that enters the storm drain system has the potential to pollute the river.
Earlier in October, Susan Boser, Water Resources Educator for Penn State Extension in Beaver County, and Marty Warchol, Watershed Specialist for the Beaver County Conservation District, took to the streets to educate businesses and homeowners about the project that would soon be taking place in their town. Door hangers explaining the upcoming project and ways that people can prevent non-point source pollution from entering the Beaver River watershed, were distributed in the downtown area. “Residents and business owners that we spoke to were glad to see such a project taking place in their town,” said Boser.
The storm drain marking project is one of several activities the partners are planning to help prevent trash, pet waste, car fuels, and household chemicals from entering into the Beaver River, an important local fishing, boating and recreational resource.
“Rain washes off roofs, through yards, and down streets, parking lots, driveways, and sidewalks carrying road salt, motor oil, debris and other contaminants into storm drains,” said Marty Warchol, Watershed Specialist at the Beaver County Conservation District. “Many people are not aware that what goes down a storm drain runs directly into our streams and the Beaver River without going through any type of treatment. Everyone can do their part and help us stop pollution by following the No Dumping message, and keep the storm drains only for rain,” she continued.
Not only is the Beaver River an extremely important source for drinking water, it is vital to the quality of life in the region. The New Brighton Fishing Park, Big Rock Park, the public boat launch, and several marinas all border the Beaver River in the borough.
The storm drain marking project is made possible through a Watershed Education Grant that has been awarded by the Water Resource Education Network (WREN), a project of the PA League of Women Voters Citizen Education Fund. Grant funding is provided from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s Nonpoint Source Management Program and Section 319 of the federal Clean Water Act, administered by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The project is part of a larger stormwater management program implemented by the Beaver County Conservation District. The District encourages citizens to adopt smart and practical ways to help prevent pollution so that clean water will be available for future generations.
There are things that everyone can do to make a difference by reducing the amount of trash, debris, pet wastes, and chemicals carried by storm water into the Beaver River. 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, properly disposing of household chemicals such as paints and cleaning supplies, proper recycling of used motor oil, sweeping driveways and sidewalks instead of hosing them, and washing cars at car wash facilities or on lawns rather than in driveways. Residents can locate approved recycling or disposal locations at www.earth911.org or call 1-800-CLEANUP and enter their zip code.