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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Storm drain markers work to prevent pollution

    Stagnant water sits in an over-full storm drain outside the Park Student Union.
    Stagnant water sits in an over-full storm drain outside the Park Student Union.

    Storm drains around campus are being marked in an effort to prevent contamination and reduce the amount of pollutants that get carried to local bodies of water.

    There are two different types of drainage systems on campus. The sanitary sewer system carries human and industrial waste to a water treatment plant, while the storm drainage system deposits untreated water into ponds, lakes and streams.

    Each time it rains, pollutants such as pet waste, plant refuse and waste products-including illicit or illegal substances- are transported to local bodies of water via storm drains, which were originally created to divert rain water to the Santa Cruz River west of campus.

    With monsoon season steadily approaching, the Department of Risk Management and Safety, along with Campus and Facilities Planning, Facilities Management and Facilities Design and construction are working to mark an estimated 50 storm drains by the end of June.

    “”The drains are being marked so nobody inadvertently dumps something into the drain thinking that it would go to the sewer,”” said Jim Riley, an associate professor of soil, water and environmental sciences and a member of the Surface Water Working Group, a primarily student-run organization involved in the plan.
    The UA drafted a document detailing the effort in response to a general permit issued by the state government, said Lloyd Wundrock, a health and safety officer for Risk Management and Safety.

    “”We are trying to do the right thing environmentally,”” he said.

    Campus storm drains will be marked with the message “”Only rain in the storm drain.””
    “”The primary purpose is public education,”” said Grant McCormick, a planner for Campus and Facilities Planning.

    Marking will span from the main campus to the Arizona Health Sciences Center, 1501 N. Campbell Ave., excluding University Medical Center because it is not affliated with the UA.

    So far, approximately 20 locations around campus have been marked with green, white and blue four-inch circular disks displaying the message, including a trial pilot marker that was installed around the Chemical Sciences building.

    Wundrock said he plans on marking 100 locations around campus, adding that materials for each marker cost about $3.
    Risk Management and Safety expected to see 50 percent of all storm drains marked by the end of June. The project should be completed by Dec. 1.

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