Tuesday, June 06, 2000

Pollution labels to last longer

Butler Co. to install plastic curb markers

By Anna Guido
Enquirer Contributor

        A project aimed at making people aware of the environmental dangers of dumping waste into storm drains will be continued in Butler County for the fourth year, but with some minor changes.

        Since 1996, the Butler Soil and Water Conservation District has painted pollution warnings on nearly 1,000 storm drains in Fairfield, Liberty and Union townships. Because the paint is fading, the district is trying a more permanent solution: plastic curb markers.

        “The life expectancy of painted curbs is about two years, but the plastic curb markers will last a lot longer, and they're easier to apply,” said David Carter, district program administrator.

        The greatest source of water pollution in the United States comes from sources such as urban runoff and malfunctioning septic tanks, said Lorna Harrell, a biologist at Northern Kentucky University and former coordinator for the Butler County storm drain program.

        Ms. Harrell said the purpose of the storm drain project was to make people aware of how indiscriminate dumping of wastes affects water quality in the Butler County headwaters of the Mill Creek.

        The 28-mile Mill Creek, which flows south into Hamilton County and the Ohio River, has suffered over the years from industrial pollution and sewer overflows. The federal Water Resources Development Act of 1999 recognizes it as a priority area for ecosystem protection.

        Although there are no data to support the success of the storm drain project in Butler County, environmental officials and volunteers say it should be continued.

        Liberty Township residents Susan and David Loggains painted the pollution warnings on all of the storm drains in their Logsdon's Ridge subdivision.

        “We saw people dumping stuff down there, so we thought it was a good project to do,” Mrs. Loggains said. “I think it's helped. ... I think it's made people more aware of the situation.”

        Mr. Carter said he's sure the pollution warnings have made people think twice.

        “I feel very strongly that this program has made a difference,” he said. “... I'm sure the pollution warnings start people thinking about where that storm drain leads to.”

        Volunteers are needed to help glue the reflective curb markers onto storm drains. Call the Butler Soil and Water Conservation District at 887-3720.


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