Much of the pollution in our nation’s waterways comes from everyday materials like fertilizers, pesticides, motor oil and household chemicals. Rainwater washes these substances from streets, yards and driveways into storm drains.
Studies have shown that the majority of the public believes that the drains lead to wastewater treatment plants, when in fact this non-point pollution is carried directly to the nearest waterway. For this reason, educating the public about pollutants contained within storm water runoff is a vital task. One method of accomplishing this goal is to place educational messages directly on the storm drain inlet. This activity is largely done through the efforts of volunteers.
In Hillsborough County, Fla., Julia Palaschak of the county’s Stormwater Management Section originally used painted stencils for her early public education efforts; however, painting proved time consuming and messy, and it eventually washed off into the drains and the water source.
After evaluating alternatives to painting, Palaschak chose a marking system made by das Mfg. Inc. The markers can be permanently affixed to most flat surfaces, including concrete and asphalt, using das adhesive. The markers were easy to use, highly visible and could be manufactured in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. The company had test data and long-term durability information, as the markers had been in use since 1983. The markers also were ADA-compliant for slip resistance.
Although there are different methods of marking, much can be learned from programs and methods that already are being employed successfully.