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Friday, May 27, 2016

'Drain stormers' project reminds residents not to dump wastes in storm drains

Friday, August 17, 2007

Department of Municipal Services Assistant Director Marie Fowler tried out the "Dump No Waste, Drains To Stream" stencil on a storm drain inlet near her home at the end of East Rosehill Street.
(Rachel Harper/Democrat-News)
On Saturday, Aug. 18, the citizens of Marshall will see many volunteers stenciling messages on storm sewers from 8 to 11 a.m.

GE Environmental Services Stream Team and the City of Marshall Stream Team, also known as the Marshall Drain Stormers, will be reminding residents of Marshall that storm sewers should never be used to dispose of wastes.

The message is "Dump No Waste, Drains To Stream" with an image of a bass accompanying the saying.

Marie Fowler, assistant director of the Department of Municipal Services, said storm drains are misused for the disposal of paint, motor oil, antifreeze, pesticides and other harmful wastes. The improper disposal of the harmful wastes seriously damages Marshall's water quality and other important environmental areas.

The storm drains carry rain water to Finney Creek and Salt Fork River, Fowler said.

"We want to start educating people to stop abusing our natural resources," she said.

When it rains, additional wastes make their way to the storm drains. The runoff carries litter, yard debris, pet wastes and other pollutants into the drains.

"Grass clippings lay on top of the water," she said. "It, in return, cuts off oxygen in the water."

These volunteers will be busy on Saturday as Fowler said there are 600 to 800 inlets that could be stenciled.

While the volunteers are stenciling, others will be posting flyers at doors so that when a resident opens their door, they have the chance to be informed.

"We are hoping for around 20 volunteers," Fowler said. This Saturday, the volunteers will consist of GE employees, City of Marshall employees and their families. Fowler said she hopes to have volunteers from the community helping out the next Saturday they will be out.

Fowler said people should wash their cars in the yard and not in the driveway. The soap and oils from the car will sink down into the yard if a car is washed there. If the car is washed in the driveway, the soap and oils run down the driveway, into the storm drain and into the creeks. "The yard is a natural collector of those types of things."

The Storm Drain Stenciling Project is available through the Stream Team program, which is sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation, Conservation Federation of Missouri and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

Stenciling can only be done when roads are dry and the temperature is over 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Stream Team is providing volunteers with T-shirts, gloves and stencils.

Stream Team released several facts for Missouri residents to help understand what damage is caused by pollutants in the storm drains.

-- Each year in the United States, do-it-yourself motor oil changers improperly dispose of 192 million gallons of used motor oil into the environment. One gallon of used motor oil can contaminate one million gallons of water.

-- Antifreeze is primarily composed of ethylene glycol, a sweet and poisonous compound which can kill or injure pets, birds, fish and other wildlife when disposed of carelessly into the environment. It can also contain heavy metal contaminants picked up from engines during use.

-- Paint, even latex paint, can contain a variety of hazardous ingredients including lead, mercury and organic solvents.

-- Soap suds from washing the car, rinse water from paint clean-up, pet waste, cigarette butts, litter, pesticides and fertilizer runoff and yard wastes can all cause environmental problems when discharged into waterways via storm drains.

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