CLEVELAND — Stormwater Awareness Week is celebrated by different states at different times during the year, but from Oct. 18-24, it's Ohio’s turn to bring awareness to stormwater pollution.
What You Need To Know
- Ohio's Stormwater Awareness Week is Oct. 18-24
- Part of a regional effort, Soil and Water Conservation Districts around Ohio are helping their communities celebrate Stormwater Awareness Week
- Community members helping to spread the message that only rain should go down the drain
- Water that enters storm drains from the street receives no treatment or filtering process meaning that polluted water goes directly into natural bodies of water that people swim in and get our water from
- For more information on events happening during the week or ways to get involved in Cleveland go to cuyahogaswcd.org
Communities across Ohio are urging residents to be the change for clean water with events and messages like “only rain down the drain.”
“We’re doing a puppy and we’re doing some poop because poop should not go into the drain and people need to know that,” said Marcia Hood, founder and executive director of SYATT, an organization that supports its community through culturally relevant programming in the natural and built environment, where youth and adults experience relief leading to life-changing transformation.
She said purposely dumping into storm drains is illegal, but not cleaning up after your pet is just wrong.
Water that goes into storm drains from the street receives no treatment or filtering process. This means any pollution that gets washed into the storm drains goes directly to creeks, rivers, and in northern Ohio ultimately to Lake Erie.
“It's a pain to go to the lake and go to the beach and see it all messed up and not be able to go swim in the water because it’s got green algae for fertilizer and overflow of all kinds of waste right after it rains,” said Doug Wood, from the Collinwood Painted Rain Barrel Project.
The Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District in Cleveland is one of many districts around Ohio helping its community celebrate Stormwater Awareness Week.
It’s all part of a regional effort to encourage communities to raise stormwater awareness through social media posts and fun educational events like Storm Drain Art.
“We’re trying to create a culture of environmental awareness through art by visually seeing these things that connect environmental stewardship to the community. We can create more environmental awareness,” said Joe King, a board member for Organic Connects Inc., an organization that focuses on engaging urban communities with nature and preparing the future green leaders of the world for the environmental workforce.
Six groups — painting messages about stormwater pollution and how only rain should go down the drain.
“Everything on the land affects our water ways, so if you have litter, dog waste, fertilizer, pesticides, all those kinds of things that make their way into a storm drain on the street, they don’t get treated so everything that goes into that storm drain makes its way out to our rivers, creeks and streams untreated. And eventually that makes its way into Lake Erie so whatever we do on the land affects our water ways even if we don’t live near a waterway,” said Amy Roskilly, conservation education and communications manager at Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District.
The polluted water doesn’t only affect humans.
“We’re doing a depiction of the water and the fish, some frogs, you know lots of things that are very healthy and living and we want to keep healthy and living,” said Katie Rodrick, a girl scout troop leader.
It also affects those far away.
“The Great Lakes are one of the largest sources of water in the world. People from all over the world use that water whether they’re recreating or whether fresh water is being transported to other countries for drinking, everybody uses it so it’s a larger world wide thing,” said Whitnye Long Jones, founder and executive director of Organic Connects Inc.
Everyday people protecting and helping the earth — showcasing that clean water starts with us.
“If we can all take a moment to think about something bigger than ourselves, we can make a difference. We all have to be together on this,” said King.
For more information on events happening during the week or ways you can get involved in Cleveland go to cuyahogaswcd.org.