Storm Drain Marking

DSC_2243Have you seen signs like this?

The “Partners for Clean Water” perch on sign poles along stream-sides, small and large, throughout the Tualatin River watershed. These signs are reminders that in all weather and through all seasons…

You can protect your watershed.”

It’s not difficult to reduce the amount of toxins, contaminants, and pollutants that enter the Tualatin River system. Understanding non-point source pollution is a key to cutting down the amount of potentially dangerous substances that flow into our streams.

What does this emblem mean?

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It’s a clue to what non-point pollution is all about-

Harmful substances that do not originate from a single source, or point, are called nonpoint-source pollution.  Often, we city-dwellers and suburban homeowners are not aware that we contribute to non-point source pollution. Many things we do by habit can cause harm:

  • motorized vehicle use and maintenance,
  • lawn and garden fertilizer  & pesticide application,
  • pet animal waste not picked up and left behind.

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We live in communities that include places where stormwater (aka rainwater, sprinkler runoff, carwash water…) picks up the contaminants we create around our homes, businesses, and greenspaces. The water is directed onto impermeable surfaces like:

  • parking lots,
  • streets, and roads.

Oils, grease, metals, dirt, salts, other toxic materials, soil, pesticides, fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides, bacteria, microorganisms, and nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) are common nonpoint-source pollutants from our habits of daily living that can cause water degradation.

When any single or combination of these harmful substances are carried by water… down storm drain openings… they have the potential to travel into our Tualatin Watershed system unchecked, untreated, and unbridled.

Anything that is dumped or runs into storm drains ends up in the nearest waterway without being cleaned.

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What is the solution to this problem?

Habits can be changed! Markers with these emblems serve as reminders that storm drains are for water. We must do our parts to make changes in habits that reduce our non-point source pollution footprints.

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We can protect the streams- small and large, throughout the Tualatin River watershed. Waters will run cleaner when we work together to reduce non-point source pollution. Here are some ideas to get started…

  • Recycle motor oil,
  • Sweep rather than hose your driveway,
  • Go to a carwash where water is used efficiently,
  • Use fertilizers and pesticides with care… never… where they might runoff into storm drains. (Why not try living without them at all!)
  • Pick up your pet’s poop; then dispose in trash or flush down the toilet.

How will you change your habits?

Want to help with the project? Please use the contact form on the May 2016 Glencoe Swale Chronicles page.

References that helped with this post:

Clean Water Services Public Affairs: door hanger text

National Service Center for Environmental Publications (NSCEP): Protecting Water Quality from Urban Runoff

Water Encyclopedia: Pollution Sources: Point and Non-point