Downtown residents Cam and Renee Murray have been spending the summer stenciling the storm sewer drains in downtown Stillwater with “No Dumping, Drains To River.” Besides actually stopping people from dumping into the drains, they hope to educate downtown visitors about how their litter will pollute the St. Croix River. Anything on the sidewalk or in the gutter will get washed directly into the St. Croix during a rain storm.
Cigarette butts are the largest source of pollution visible in the St. Croix River. Each one has a microplastic fiber filter that contains toxic chemicals. Cam and Renee, now organizing stencil parties with our Natural Resources Workgroup, headed by Louise Watson, hope the stencils will get visitors to remember not to litter on the sidewalks and to put their cigarette butts in a smoking station around downtown.
They had no idea how many storm drains were downtown when they started, but have now finished 58 stencils and still have some to do.
Sustainable Stillwater MN is expanding the stencil project in the fall to residential neighborhoods.