Haywood Early College students send a message about water quality

By Haywood Waterways Association | Oct 11, 2013
Photo by: Christine O'Brien HCC Early College Students wrapping up a stormdrain stenciling project on their campus.

Fifteen students from Haywood Early College recently marked a total of 11 storm drains around the Haywood Community College campus with a message that read “Don’t Dump Drains to Pigeon River.” The students were excited to be a part of a movement to spread the word about keeping the water in Haywood County clean.

“The Haywood Early College Environmental Club considered it a privilege to be able to participate in the hands-on service activity,” said Sherrie Tew, teacher sponsor of the HEC club.

The stencils that the students used will help raise awareness about what happens to trash or toxic fluids once they enter a storm drain on campus.

“It is hard to believe how connected the runoff from a parking lot is with the surrounding streams in our county,” said Christine O’Brien, Haywood Waterways project assistant.

The rain water that enters a HCC storm drain drains to the Pigeon River and eventually enters the Gulf of Mexico. Haywood County is unique in that all the water found within the county originates here, which makes Haywood County the headwaters of the Gulf and gives its residents ultimate responsibility for water quality.

After each rain, the water that flows across parking lots picks up trash, oil, gasoline, fertilizer, herbicides, pet feces, bacteria, viruses and other toxic chemicals, which is sent directly into storm drains. Once in the storm drain, the water goes untreated to the nearest waterway where it can harm aquatic life, be hazardous to human and livestock health and diminish the aesthetic value of streams.

Caring for streams is simple — proper trash disposal is a good start. Car owners can make sure their car is properly tuned and that there are no leaking fluids. Pet owners can be diligent about cleaning up after their pet. Even homeowners can do their part by following the directions when adding fertilizer or herbicide to their grass or garden and avoid applying these products before a heavy rain. These simple steps can make a big difference when it comes to protecting streams.

For more information on how to maintain a safe backyard, email info@haywoodwaterways or call 476-4667.