Melting snow leaves behind a mess

By Haywood Waterways Association | Feb 19, 2014
Photo by: Christine O'Brien Melting snow uncovers stormdrain trash.

Most people are happy to see the snow finally start to melt, but what the snow leaves behind is nothing pretty.

All along the roads and in the storm drains trash starts to emerge as the snow exits. To a passerby, the trash may take from the beauty of the mountainous landscape, but when trash enters storm drains and gets into the waterways it can become deadly to wildlife.

Parking lots and roads with a curb are designed to capture stormwater and deliver it to a nearby stream. Stormwater is formed when water from melting snow or rain flows over a hard surface like a parking lot or roof. As the water flows downhill to a storm drain, it picks up trash, chemicals from leaking cars, and bacteria from pet waste.

Once in the storm drain, this polluted water flows untreated to the nearest waterway. Chemicals and bacteria that enter the stream can make the water unsafe for swimming and wildlife. Trash that accumulates along stream banks can hurt the natural aesthetics.

Residents can help keep the county looking its best by not throwing trash out of their car window and making sure trash in the rear of their pickup is covered. Car owners can make sure their car is tuned up and doesn’t leak fluids, and pet owners can do their part by picking up after their pets.

These are very simple steps that can be taken to keep our waters safe for all to enjoy.