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 the 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, each includes the image of a fish and water with “No Dumping/Drains to River” stamped in big letters.

“Water that goes down a storm drain is not treated or cleaned before it flows into a stream or river,” said Richland County Stormwater Manager Synithia Williams. “That means pollutants on the ground or anything dumped directly into a storm drain ends up in our waterways and that affects aquatic plants, fish and, ultimately, humans.”

Pollutants include motor oil, construction run-off, chemicals, cigarette butts and pet waste.

“A lot of dog owners may erroneously think there’s no harm in allowing pet waste to remain on the ground,” Williams said. “Pet waste is full of pollutants and should be bagged and trashed, not left on the ground or swept into the nearest storm drain.”

Properly disposing of pet waste, keeping yards free of trash and recycling motor oil are a few actions residents can do to help keep Richland County’s waterways clean. To learn more about how to keep waterways clean or where to report a stormwater concern, visit www.MyRiverStartsHere.org.

The MinorityEye
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