With spring on the horizon, you may find yourself taking full advantage of the sporadic sunny days when the temperature rises along with the motivation to spruce things up. Whether it’s doing yard work, organizing garages and sheds, or completing your spring-cleaning ritual, it is important to remember that what you do in your yard and even inside your home can have an effect on our local environment and beyond.
Harmful chemicals, hazardous substances, and even waste items can be easily transported from your property to a local water source through storm drains.
Storm drains help prevent flooding by draining excess rainwater, snow melt, and groundwater from water resistant surfaces such as paved streets, sidewalks, and parking lots. There is a common, yet dangerous misconception that water is treated after entering a storm drain.
However, anything that enters a storm drain is carried through underground pipes or open ditches and discharged directly into local streams, rivers, and other surface bodies of water. When water picks up litter and pollutants, it can poison wildlife and make their way into our drinking water supply.
There are steps you can take to protect our local waterways. The phrase, only rain down the storm drain, is a fun and simple way to introduce storm drain awareness to youth. Never pour anything, especially hazardous waste substances, into a storm drain. We have safe disposal options available locally, so please be sure to take advantage of them.
Keep Fremont Beautiful will be hosting a household hazardous waste collection event on Saturday, Oct. 14, from 9 a.m. to noon at Christensen Field. This event will be open to Dodge County residents, households only. You may also recycle used motor oil at the Fremont Transfer Station. In contrast to intentionally dumping chemicals in storm drains, you can contribute to accidental contamination by not repairing leaks coming from your vehicle.
Keeping storm drains clean and clear of litter not only prevents pollution, but also assists with drainage. By taking appropriate steps to contain your trash, you will reduce the likelihood of it becoming litter. Place all waste items in a bag and tie it tightly before disposing of it in your curbside receptacle. Store your receptacle in an area where wind cannot knock it over and be sure it has a tightly fitting lid.
You can also help prevent litter by keeping a bag in your vehicle for trash. This will provide occupants with a simple way to dispose of waste in the vehicle and keep it contained.
Lastly, minimizing or eliminating your use of lawn chemicals and cleaning up after pets will reduce the amount of toxins being washed away from your yard and carried down a storm drain.
For additional information regarding storm drain awareness, please visit fremontne.gov/431/Stormwater-Management.
Casey Vaughan is executive director of Keep Fremont Beautiful. She can be reached at 529 North Main Street, Suite 4, Fremont, or at 402-941-6122.
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