Boy Scouts paint 350 storm drains to raise awareness

Several scouts in Boy Scout Troop 571 led by Eric Mitchell recently stenciled 350 storm drains in the Sunrise neighborhood to help raise awareness about the link between storm drains and water quality.

Mitchell, a graduating senior at Emerald Ridge High School in Puyallup, worked long hours over four weekends to complete the project. It fulfilled his community service project to become an Eagle Scout, the highest advancement rank in scouting.

Pierce County recognized Mitchell for his contribution in a ceremony on June 15. “Surface Water Management and the Puyallup River Watershed Council recognize the effort Eric put into stenciling these 350 catch basins,” said Water Quality Manager Dan Wrye. “We commend him for knowing how important managing storm water is for protecting our water quality.”

Storm drains painted with “Dump No Waste — Drains to Stream” are an easy way to encourage neighborhood residents to do their part to keep the county’s water systems clean. Most people are not aware that the water that enters storm drains goes directly to local streams, lakes, wetlands and Puget Sound without treatment from the sanitary sewer system.

Yard chemicals, soap from car washing, pet waste, oil from cars, and other pollutants get into storm drains, and into water. With over 36,000 storm drains in Pierce County, even small amounts of pollutants in storm drains adds up to significant pollution in local streams, lakes and Puget Sound. Many of the storm drains are not stenciled or the stenciling has faded.