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Jed Boal ReportingThis fall, Salt Lake County will send us all an important message about the future of our communities. It's about choices we make that affect our water quality and ultimately, the quality of our lives.
You've probably see the spots on TV. Now, you'll see a brand new blitz, an amusing reminder to keep debris out of the storm drains because, we all live downstream.
Lisa Hartman, S.L. Co. Storm Water Education Coordinator: "We want to keep our storm water areas looking clean and pristine for residents to enjoy all year round."
All storm water flows directly into our rivers and streams untreated. It's a common misconception that storm run-off is treated, but it's not.
Lisa Hartman: "At this time of year, people are getting their yards all cleaned up and we want to remind people that as they're cleaning their yards and getting ready for winter, we want to keep our bodies of water in the valley clean as well."
Leaves can clog drains and back up other chemicals and debris. Pollutants in run-off pollute the streams that flow through our neighborhoods and the ponds at our favorite parks. And rain doesn't simply wash any mess away.
Lisa Hartman: "It's out of sight, out of mind. It washes it away from your neighborhood, but it ends up in places like Liberty Park, where people come to enjoy."
Many old practices linger, like washing the car, or changing the oil in the front yard. For most of us, it's a matter of simple education. When the county gets calls about a problem in a neighborhood, they'll go out and put leaflets on doors to remind us that we all live downstream.
Lisa Hartman: "It takes a little bit of change, but not that much effort to keep storm water clean."
Instead of hosing down the driveway, sweep it up. And keep in mind, pet waste carries bacteria into the water.
In some metro areas watersheds have become danger zones; Salt Lake County wants to be sure that does not happen here.