Everyone can play a part in keeping the lakes and rivers around us clear of pollutants.  One of the common source-points for those pollutants (and one that's not often thought of) is stormdrains.  Even common items that you wouldn't think could be contaminants - items like litter, leaves, and general debris - can add to the problem.

A number of years ago, the City of Superior started an Adopt-A-Stormdrain program to help raise awareness of the issue and also do something about it.  Volunteers in the program commit to cleaning the stormdrain they adopt once a week and before and after storm events.  They also submit inspection forms to the city when those cleanings happen.  It's as simple as that.  And - starting is a simple, three step process:

  • #1:  Indentify the stormdrain you want to adopt.  The city recommends taking a walk around your neighborhood to see where you can help.
  • #2:  Register.  Just fill out an online registration with the city (click here) to identify the stormdrain you're adopting.
  • #3:  Complete some minimal training.  After registering, a volunteer coordinator will contact you to schedule a site visit of the stormdrain you're adopting for the stenciling that will occur.  At the same time, you'll also get your adoption supplies and training.  It's an easy process.

The adopt-a-stormdrain program is open to anyone to take part.  Homeowners and individuals are welcome of course.  But, there are also opportunities for groups to help out with the program - from businesses and schools to religious groups, clubs, daycares, and more.

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Like we said - it's easy to overlook the effect that stormdrain entry has on the waterways around us; but as a matter of fact, stormdrains represent one of the largest sources of water contamination - simply due to the large system of conveyances.  Here's a quick look at the City of Superior's stormdrain system:

  • 3276 Stormdrains
  • 1757 Manhole covers
  • 95 miles of storm sewer
  • 15 sediment / grit chambers
  • 13 stormwater ponds / basinc
  • 2 water quality basins
  • 1 constructed wetland
  • 4 wet ponds
  • 4 dry ponds
  • 2 rain gardens

In addition to the adopt-a-stormdrain volunteer efforts, you can also make a difference in other ways.  Report spills.  If you see an oil, chemical, or other spill, call 715-394-2761.  At home, sweep up road sand and salt.  Mow the perimeter of your lawn so grass clippings stay in the lawn - not on the road.  Collect clippings and throw them in the trash or compost pile.  Clear leaves from stormdrains and mulch them into your lawn with a mower.  During the winter, use less sand and salt and try to apply it at the appropriate times.

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