Much of the pollution in the nation’s waterways comes from everyday materials, such as fertilizers, pesticides, motor oil and household chemicals. Rainwater washes these substances from streets, yards and driveways into storm drains. Studies have shown that a majority of the public believe that storm 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.
As a result, communities are organizing to place messages on storm drain inlets. Typically, markers with a “No Dumping” message are affixed directly on the inlet. The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) piloted such a program.
The first step was to create a work group comprised of interested agencies and stakeholders that would contribute to the process from technical knowledge to outreach and education. After laying the groundwork for the program and obtaining funding, the next step was to choose the type of marker that would be used by the volunteers.
After evaluating different products, markers from das Mfg. were chosen for their volunteer-friendly marking system. Although the company offers a variety of markers, including plastic composites and metals, DNREC selected stock plastic markers with installation instructions imprinted on the back. The markers also were ADA-compliant for slip-resistance. For installation, the company supplied small re-sealable squeeze tubes of adhesive that were easy to use without requiring caulk guns. Although there are different methods of marking and developing a marking program, much can be learned from programs already in place.