August 14, 2004
The Butler County Storm Water District is working hard to get the word out that anything put into a storm drain flows untreated directly into our local waterways. In an effort to create awareness, District officials are conducting an informational campaign that includes placing labels like the one at left on storm drains throughout neighborhoods within the District. Door hangers are also distributed so local residents know what is taking place.
The Butler County Storm Water District, in cooperation with the Butler County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), conducted its first series of storm drain labeling efforts. The first labels were installed August 14, 2004 at the Ascot Downs subdivision in Fairfield Township and August 21, 2004 in the Hughes Woods subdivision in Liberty Township.
Storm drain labels are simple and effective best management practices to prevent non-point source pollution from entering waterways in our community and those downstream. The stencils are intended to make urban and suburban homeowners think twice before dumping material down the storm sewers and into rivers, streams, and ponds in their neighborhoods.
Many people use our storm drains to dispose of materials such as used oil, paint products, automobile detergents, grass clippings, leaves, trash, and pet waste. Other things such as fertilizer, pesticides, and sediments enter our storm drains as polluted runoff during rainfall events. All of these pollutants have been shown to lower local water quality and threaten the health of aquatic plants and animals. We are polluting our waterways because most people do not know that the combined effect of our day-to-day behaviors can have a large impact on the environment.
This type of pollution is known as “non-point source pollution” because it does not come from any one identifiable place. Non-point source pollution is therefore very hard to control. It will take the combined actions of everyone in our communities to make a difference.
How can you help?
Learn something about the local streams in your neighborhood and how they are connected to the storm drains. Take a look at your own behavior and ask whether you could be part of the problem.
- Change how you do things.
- Properly dispose of used oil and paint waste
- Clean up after your pet
- Wash your car on your lawn or use a commercial car wash
- Avoid leaving areas of soil exposed for long periods of time
- Decrease the amount of pesticides and fertilizers you use on your lawns.
Interested in Storm Drain Labels in your neighborhood?
Initial reaction to the program and demand for labels has been outstanding. If you or your organization would like to assist with future labeling projects or if you would like storm drain labels in your neighborhood, please contact the Butler County Storm Water District at 513-785-4120. All materials required for label installation, including storm sewer maps and educational outreach pamphlets will be provided.