Keep it Superior
Storm Drain Education
The Keep it Superior - Storm Drain Education Program is designed to educate the public about the impacts of pollution entering urban storm drains. In our community, most of the water entering storm drains goes directly into local rivers, streams and lakes untreated. Storm drain pollution harms fish and wildlife, as well as reduces overall water quality for human use. EcoSuperior aims to remind people to properly use and safely dispose of hazardous household chemicals, rather than allowing these products to enter curb side storm drains. This program consists of installing permanent markers adjacent to city drains, distribution of coasters to local restaurants, billboards, transit ads, and a presentation for community groups and Grade 4 students.
Why does Thunder Bay need a
Storm Drain Education Program?
There are two ways for contaminants to enter Lake Superior through our storm drain system: people dumping directly into the drains, and contaminated run-off. Non-point source pollution is the single largest contributor to water pollution. Non-point source pollution is spread over a large area and not from one specific location or source and is very difficult to trace (e.g. garbage, dirt, oil, gravel, salt, animal droppings, fertilizers, pesticides, etc.). In contrast, point source pollution is easily traced to its source (e.g. outflow from a factory). Non-point source pollution is a community issue which requires the community to work together to solve. As rainfall or snowmelt moves over and through the ground, it picks up and carries away natural and human-made substances (chemicals, sediment and debris) which are deposited into lakes, rivers, wetlands, coastal waters via storm drains. Storm Drain Education Video
Where does water pollution come from?
There are many sources of water pollutants, including recreational, residential, industrial, and agricultural sources. However, Canadian households annually generate more than 60,000 tonnes of hazardous wastes. Common examples of hazardous household wastes include: old car batteries, lighter fluid, turpentine, paint, gasoline, used motor oil, antifreeze, pool chemicals and pesticides. Other pollutants that commonly end up in the water system are pet waste, sidewalk/driveway salt, soap and fertilizer. These may not be toxic, but in high concentrations they can have a negative impact on the aquatic ecosystem. Approximately 70% of city lands are paved or built over; about half of the precipitation that falls on our cities never touches the soil. Water slowly moving through soil (groundwater) naturally gets filtered. Water running over pavement collects debris and chemicals and goes directly into the storm drain system.
Storm Drain EcoTip
How You Can Help?
Take action on your own property to protect our local water quality from the impacts of contaminated runoff. Here are some measures for you to consider:
- Never pour anything down the storm drain!
- Install rain barrels under your downspouts
- Add a rain garden to your landscaping
- Plant more native trees & shrubs
- Try to add more permeable surface in your yard to soak up the water
- Pick up pet waste regularly (ask us how to make your own pet waste composter
- Choose a commercial car wash over washing in your driveway
- Maintain your vehicle and fix leaks promptly
- Avoid using salt or chemical ice-melters
- Use only organic fertilizers on your lawn & gardens, and apply in dry weather
- Store fuels & hazardous chemicals with care, and take to the hazardous waste depot for safe disposal
Adopt a Storm Drain in your neighbourhood and keep it clear of leaves, trash, and other debris. Volunteer 15 minutes, twice a month, to reduce water pollution and protect neighbourhoods from excess stormwater. Storm drains flow directly to local streams, rivers, and lakes, acting as a conduit for trash and organic pollutants.
If you would like more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 807-624-2658.
This program is funded in part by the City of Thunder Bay and delivered by EcoSuperior