Prevention is the only solution to non-point pollution and polluted runoff. Cleanup and enforcement can’t cover every street, driveway and parking lot. The biggest challenges to preventing non-point source pollution are information and action. Storm drain marking is a means to educate and promote voluntary action for pollution prevention.
The new EPA Clean Water Act Phase II storm water non-point rule for urban areas recommends storm drain marking, Public Education and Outreach, and Public Participation/Involvement. EPA also suggests best management practices for storm drain marking and describes benefits and effectiveness of storm drain marking.
Those interested in participating in Easley’s Storm Drain Marking Program can contact the Stomwater Management office at (864) 810-4132 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Storm drain marking projects offer an excellent opportunity to educate the public about the link between the storm drain system and [the] water quality. In addition to the labeled storm drains, media coverage of the program or marking event can increase public awareness of storm water issues. Volunteer groups can provide additional benefits by picking up trash near the marked storm drains and by noting where maintenance is needed. Additionally, marking projects can provide a lead-in to volunteer monitoring [or restoration] projects and increase community participation in a variety of other storm water-related activities. A storm drain marking program is generally effective, inexpensive, and easy to implement.” – EPA NPDES webpage
According to a recent national Roper survey, many people still mistakenly believe that industry is the greatest source of water pollution. Everyone values clean water, yet many people don’t understand the threats from non-point pollution and stormwater runoff. Nor do they see their contribution to the problem or solution. Stenciling can help.
Stenciling next to storm drains alerts others to the fate of runoff water and the pollution carried with it from lawns and streets. The marked message is highly visible. A Florida study showed marking is cost effective and lasts longer than curb-marker images that soon separate from pavement or are easily vandalized by collectors. And when it’s time to refresh the mark, the ongoing community involvement activity reaches a whole new set of volunteers and yields another opportunity for media attention to spread the message of pollution prevention.
Storm drain marks make a powerful impression. In Wisconsin, surveys showed that even residents in unmarked neighborhoods recognized the mark message and realized their stormwater drained to their lake. They had apparently seen the mark elsewhere locally and it made a lasting impression. (Therefore, consider marking public places like shopping mall parking lots and other places people frequent. Auto parts store parking lots are also a good idea to inform “do-it-yourself” oil-changers.)