Chemicals poured down storm drains get into drinking water

By: Adam Clark, Meteorologist
By: Adam Clark, Meteorologist

October 27, 2006

Our water supply is a delicate resource. Any pollution that reaches our streams and groundwater can cause problems with what you drink.

The city of Aiken is doing something new to help prevent people from contaminating our drinking water.

Not too many people think about where water goes once it enters a storm drain.

Some think it goes to a treatment plant.

But the city of Aiken wants to make sure you know the truth. There's a select few that actually dump harmful chemicals down storm drains. The public works department wants to make sure you don't.

"All of the water systems are interconnected," Tim Coakley, assistant director of Aiken Public Works told News 12. "Eventually, if you pour something down the drain, it ends up in the groundwater or in the Savannah River."

You don't want to dump anything down a drain, because the water ends up in a creek that feeds Aiken's water supply.

New decals for the drains tell you not to dump and who to call if you spot someone pouring chemicals down a drain.

We spoke with South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control's Jennifer Hughes. She says the most problems come from runoff from parking lots and yards, but people need to know how they can help keep the water clean.

"It's definitely an awareness," she said. "I think people, when they see "no dumping", they will see that and know that that's not a proper place to dump."

She also says that if water treatment plants have to keep upgrading to keep up with more pollution, you could actually see an increase in your water bill.

All great reasons to keep the water clean and safe.

The city of Aiken Public Works is looking for civic groups to volunteer to put the decals on the storm drains.

For information on how you can help, call Aiken Public Works at 803-642-7613.

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1212 Augusta, GA 30903 Main Telephone: (803) 278-1212 Newsroom: (803) 278-3111 Fax: (803) 442-4561
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