by Leslie Frick
Who am I? I work hard for you but don't get enough love from folks. My job isn't at all glamorous, but it's really important; especially in a city like Stillwater where people enjoy the water in our lovely St. Croix River, Brown's Creek, and local lakes. If folks would only help me out and do their part, I'd be even prouder that I'm doing my part to keep freshwater flowing for safe playing, swimming, fishing.
So if I could have a conversation with you, this is what I'd say. You're bored and the pandemic is stopping you from your usual activities. You can't go to the gym, swimming in the pool is out, and fall is here. What's a person to do?
You could take a cue from folks like Dale Tennison, who I count as a good friend. Twice a week Dale takes off with his handy grabber (purchased at a hardware store) and a few plastic bags. He really helps me out — after a busy weekend in Stillwater he's been known to collect four bags of trash on his nine-mile hiking circuit. Plus, he gets to talk to kids and folks along the way and inspires them to follow in his footsteps.
By now you've probably guessed what I am and that I should only have a diet of untainted water. What you feed me goes straight into our waterways.
So how else could you help me out and make less work for people like Dale? You could:
Adopt me or one of my friends. Go to https://adopt-a-drain.org . It's easier than adopting a dog and there are plenty of me available for immediate adoption! That web site lists lots of cool facts about how important it is to keep a drain like me clean.
Secure garbage can lids. A good wind gust can unleash all kinds of trash into my gullet. Bungee cords work well.
Sweep up pet poop before it reaches me, the parasites and bacteria pollute our water.
Sweep dead leaves and grass clippings away from me; if they get into my system and decay, their nutrients promote excessive algae growth in the water.
Take your car to a carwash where their dirty water is responsibly treated. (Some folks wash their car on the lawn where the soapy water is absorbed!)
Did you know one of the worst polluting offenders is the tiny cigarette butt? Because the filter is made of plastic, it can take up to ten years to completely degrade. Even worse, chemicals released like arsenic, lead, and nicotine will leach their toxins into our water system over a much longer time. And mother birds are known to mistakenly feed them to their babies! Those butts are small, but they cause big problems.
Dale and I thank you for thinking of us!
Your Storm Drain
Leslie Frick is a member of Sustainable Stillwater MN. (Thanks to Bob Barratt too for emptying the cigarette disposal boxes downtown) Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org