What’s with the graffiti on the storm drains in Kingsport? Do we have a ‘gang’ of environmentalists on the prowl?
No, not exactly. At the end of summer, Amanda McMullen with the Kingsport Stormwater Department sent out a press release searching for local artists to enter a contest to educate and create awareness about keeping the water that enters into the storm drains clean. The idea had come into play when someone had noticed a similar exhibit of educational creativity in Knox County.
They received tons of wonderful entries but had to narrow it down to five winners. Each winner was awarded with a $100 gift card and bragging rights, of course, for their hard work. Individually, each piece has a story. (see captions with pictures) The artwork was not an easy feat as road paint is very limited on the color wheel. They were only given the basics; red, yellow, blue, white and black. With that being said, they really had to reach deep inside and find their inner Bob Ross. (Think “happy little water.”)
So, what’s so important about water that’s just going down the drain anyway?
Glad you asked. Storm water should be exactly that. Storm. Water. Back in the day, that’s was the reason they were created. They were placed specifically to take water from weather (rain, ice and snow) and redirect it to streams, rivers and lakes to prevent flooding. All of the water was be filtered, through the ground. And, well they still do that. However, with asphalt, concrete and buildings, the system has been disrupted. Think of all the things people use and just dump out on the ground, either accidentally or purposely. When you dump out the rest of your coffee into the parking lot so that you have room for your Pal’s sweet tea, you’re really pouring that into the nearest river. Coffee’s not too horrible, right? I mean, it’s a bean. It grows from the ground. I get it. Think about when you pressure wash your house and the cleaning product washes down your driveway. Or, let’s say you drain the anti-freeze out of your radiator? Looks a bit different now, right?
Ok. What do I need to do to help?
Well, shucks! I thought you’d never ask! Here’s some tips that you can do to help prevent water pollution:
- Use lawn chemicals safely. Always follow label instructions and never apply before rain or watering the lawn unless directed. Or better yet, find a natural alternative.
- Recycle used oil. Never place used motor oil in the trash or pour it down storm drains. Dispose of used oil at a used oil collection facility. (Contact your local Public Works Department for a place near you!)
- Clean driveways, sidewalks or paved areas around your home. Remove debris or residue that could end up in a storm drain. (And stop blowing those fall leaves out to the road.)
- Wash your car the right way. Either wash your car at a car wash that filters the wastewater, or wash it in a grassy area. Avoid washing the car in the driveway where the soap can easily run in the street. (I prefer the drive through car wash myself.)
- Never dispose of trash or chemicals directly in the storm drain. (Well, duh!)
So, come on over to Kingsport and see these uniquely beautiful murals in person. The locations are Cumberland Street, near Bank of Tennessee and Model City Tap House, East Market Street, near Kingsport Imaging, Suzanne Barrett Justis Fine Art Studio and P&J Antiques. While you’re there check out all the new shops and dining Kingsport has to offer.
Special thanks to all the local sponsors: Bank of Tennessee, Kingsport Imaging, and Now or Never Tattoo Gallery.
Until next time….Keep it clean!
by Leona Gracia