Storm drains. They exist in plain sight along sidewalks, in parking garages, and around parking lots, but where does the water go that enters these systems? The answer: straight into our rivers.
As the Water Quality Education Specialist for ACPWQ, I get the pleasure of going out into the public and sharing this message (along with many others). Something that I always find interesting is how many people do not know the answer to this question. A shocking number of Allen County residents are under the impression that the water going down these drains will be cleaned by the city’s wastewater filtration plant before being released into waterways. This widespread belief is frequently the culprit for why individuals will dispose of household hazardous waste, dog poop, and trash down the pipes.
I have had horrified residents confess to disposing of regrettable items down the drains. Kids are often the first to be grossed out by the idea, but then they are relieved when they remember that water flows away. In these moments, my favorite conversations take place; because we then get to discuss where our water goes and how those regrettable items are now in someone else’s drinking water.
So next time you see a storm drain, remember, the water that goes down it goes straight to our river and into someone else’s faucet. It is everyone’s responsibility to keep our waterways clean, and one of the easiest ways is to do that is by letting only rain go down the storm drain!