The City of Lexington is heading up a proactive community project: stenciling storm drains to prevent storm water pollution. The community is coming together for the benefit of keeping pollutants that enter the waterways to a minimum. Many people do not know that storm drains lead directly to our waterways. Everything that enters a storm drain or storm inlet is washed into nearby streams, lakes, and rivers without going through a treatment plant. Only rainwater should go down the drain. Non-point source pollution, also called storm water runoff or urban runoff pollution, is caused when rainfall carries pollutants from roads, yards, buildings, and other surfaces into waterways. Because the pollution comes from many different places, it cannot be traced to a “point source” such as a factory or plant. Pesticides, fertilizers, motor oil, paint, antifreeze, solvents, pet wastes, grass clippings, and yard waste can all harm our water sources if they end up in storm drains due to dumping or runoff. Storm drains lead into a separate system, apart from the system that carries wastewater, and empties directly into our streams, rivers, and lakes. When motor oil is poured into the storm drain or pet waste is washed into an inlet, all of the bacteria and chemicals end up in the closest waterway.
Storm drain stenciling helps educate citizens about water quality and tells people not to pour any chemicals or wastes down storm inlets or drains. There are over 20,000 storm drains and inlets in Lexington so there are plenty to choose from. Due to safety concerns, the City advises that you stencil in teams of 2-4 people. This allows at least one person to stencil while one person watches for traffic. The Division of Environmental Services has stenciling kits for you to sign out.
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