Thursday, October 21, 2010
This is a crime scene. A RE Sources volunteer took this picture while taking a walk in a Seattle neighborhood. This is a picture of white paint flowing into a storm drain. If not stopped, this paint will flow into a lake. This crime happens all the time.
Do you know what to do if you see a crime like this in your neighborhood? If you live in a city of more than 10,000 people, your city is required to have a telephone reporting hotline for this type of crime, which is called an "illicit discharge" in stormwater lingo. Your city is also required to track, follow-up, stop, and educate citizens about water pollution from these kinds of crimes.
If you see oil, gas, paint, antifreeze, soap, mud, or any other pollutant entering a storm drain, lake, stream, ditch, river or marine waters, here is how to report it: 1) Take a picture of it. If the person who committed the crime is still in the area, take a picture of them, and their vehicle. 2) Contact your nearest Waterkeeper (www.waterkeeper.org). 3) Call your city or county's illicit discharge phone number. 4) Call or email me (email@example.com). I will help you report it, and I will send you a personal thank-you letter for protecting our water.
Photo credit: Sue Joerger, Seattle, Washington