If Richland County Stormwater Management can relay just one important message to residents, it’s this: only rain should go down a storm drain.
In an ongoing effort to spread this message and protect local waterways, Richland County Stormwater Management and Columbia Water are seeking community volunteers to help mark storm drains in April as a part of the “My River Starts Here” campaign, an initiative to reduce water pollution.
“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.”
Pollutants that enter storm drains – such as motor oil, construction run-off, chemicals, cigarette butts and pet waste – can end up in nearby waterways and negatively affect water quality, as well as harm aquatic plants and fish.
By helping adhere round medallions reading “No Dumping/Drains to River” in front of storm drains throughout their community, volunteers will remind their neighbors to be mindful of storm drain pollutants.
April is National Storm Drain Marking Month, though Williams notes it’s important for residents to keep drains free from pollutants year round.
Another way residents can help protect Richland County waterways is to 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.”
Residents witnessing storm drain pollution and major blockages to storm drains can report them by calling the Ombudsman’s Office at 803-929-6000 or emailing email@example.com.
To volunteer to mark storm drains, visit MyRiverStartsHere.org or contact Richland County Stormwater Management at 803-576-2491 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here to watch a brief video about volunteering to mark storm drains.