Tiger Blue Goes Green News
U of M recycling efforts have hefty goal this fall/spring

More Fall 2013 Features:

U of M’s “green” event Oct. 8
Bike-share program now in high gear
Recycling efforts have hefty goal
Nothing fishy about these placards
Projects funded by Green Fee
Let’s Grow Garden Expo set for Nov. 2

U of M recycling efforts have hefty goal this fall/spring

Nothing fishy about these placards

You may have noticed the bright blue and green placards with a picture of a fish reading “No Dumping! Drains to River” appearing on storm drains around the U of M. Physical Plant & Planning has placed more than 500 of the signs next to the drains to alert people that nothing should be dumped into them. Student worker Jason Kirby placed the placards and now is working to install more on the Park Avenue Campus.

The project was spurred by a mandate from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation to ensure that water leaving storm drains on campus is as clean or cleaner than when it entered.

“We have to make sure that no soil or sediment from construction areas gets in the drains,” says John Farrell, manager of landscape and pest control services. The biggest problem, though, says Farrell, is trash thrown on the ground. “We spend an average of 50 hours a day picking up trash. Our first two hours are spent picking up cigarette butts and trash. These are hours we could spend performing landscape tasks. All of the pollutants that enter our storm drains end up in the ditches, creeks and eventually the Mississippi River.”

Kirby is taking a campus map around with him and marking everywhere he finds a storm drain inlet.

“Once we identify all the drains, we will assign a number to each one and a numbered placard will be installed,” says Farrell. “This number will be incorporated into the new mapping system and will help us to identify specific drains when issues arise. Our goal is to have a notification system for the public to report any illicit discharges in the storm drains so we can investigate and remedy any problems discovered. Individuals will be able to go to a web link that will soon be created and fill out a short form that will identify the drain by number and give us a brief description of the problem.”

Even if you’re not directly dumping anything into a storm drain, pollution can occur. Rainwater washes soil, street litter, oil, leaves, grass clippings, pet wastes and fertilizers into storm drains. Material flowing into storm drains does not get treated before emptying into streams, rivers, lakes and oceans. This untreated material can pollute the waterways in the community. Although individual storm drains may contribute small amounts of pollutants, the combination of many storm drains can cause a negative impact on water quality.

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Last Updated: 9/27/13