Students to stencil drains

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LEWISTON – Students from the Lewiston Department of Recreation PlayDays Summer Program will be stenciling the phrase “Keep it Clean – Drains to Stream” next to storm drains on Monday, Aug. 6, in an effort to educate the public and raise awareness regarding stormwater and the path it takes to Maine waters, such as Hart Brook and the Androscoggin River.

The students will stencil storm drains in the valley section of Lewiston, between Pleasant and Ashmount streets, between 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. The students will first meet for a stenciling presentation at the Multi-Purpose Center, 145 Birch St.

The stenciled message contains an image of a “stormwater ducky” from the “Ducky” television ads, which show rubber ducks going down a storm drain and ending up in Maine waters, the same way polluted stormwater does.

Storm drain stenciling is a nation-wide public awareness initiative to remind residents that whatever goes into the storm drains is delivered untreated to the nearest stream, river, pond or the ocean.

Rain that does not soak into the ground, known as stormwater, flows over rooftops, driveways, sidewalks and lawns and sweeps up pollutants in its path, such as gasoline, oil, litter, dirt, bacteria from pet waste and excess fertilizer and chemicals.

The polluted stormwater harms the quality of Maine waters and can contaminate fish, harm aquatic life, cause swimming bans and affect drinking water.

A plan for the management of the Hart Brook Watershed, which is the land area with stormwater that drains to Hart Brook and includes the valley section, is being developed by a stakeholder working group comprised of local business owners, residents, nonprofit organizations, the city of Lewiston and state agencies.

Hart Brook is not meeting the state water quality standards and the plan being developed is an effort to improve the quality of the brook. The stenciling event is a beginning effort to provide information to residents about the connection between what goes into the storm drain and the health of Hart Brook.

The Summer PlayDays Program is sponsored by the Lewiston Department of Recreation and is housed in the Multi-Purpose Center. Students from kindergarten to grade six may attend free.

The half-day program operates from mid-June through mid-August and provides breakfast and lunch. The youth participate in arts and crafts, sports, community service days and field trips. The stenciling activity provides the opportunity for students to become involved in their community and to demonstrate environmental stewardship.

This event is sponsored by Pike Industries, the Lewiston Department of Recreation, the Lewiston Public Services Department, the Lewiston Youth Advisory Council, the Hart Brook Watershed Stakeholders Working Group and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

For more information, residents may contact Jan Patterson, Lewiston Public Services Department, at 784-5753/TTY/TDD: 784-5999. For more information on the Hart Brook Watershed Management Plan, including meeting dates, visit http://ci.lewiston.me.us/stormwater/hartbrook/. Interested parties may also visit www.ThinkBlueMaine.org for more information on stormwater and things individuals can do to help keep Maine waters clean.

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