How rethinking stormwater runoff can protect Lake Champlain

Local News

The next time it rains, watch the stream of water flow down your street. Where does it go?

It may runoff into a stream or creek or low into a storm drain. Either way, it will likely find it’s way back to a major river or body of water.

In western Vermont and northeastern New York, that’s likely to be Lake Champlain.

Kristen Balschunat, a coordinator with the Stream Team, wants residents to think about what they contribute to what flows into storm drains.

“We all live in a watershed, no matter where you live,” she said. “Whether it’s close to the river or miles and miles away, water is one thing that connects everyone.”

Balschunat is working closely with Jenna Olson, a stormwater program manager for the City of Burlington.

“It will make people a little bit more conscious about throwing cigarette butts in there, about clearing leaves, and other types of things from the basin,” said Olson.

Now they are spray painting signs near stormwater basins.

“Generally folks think, when they throw it down the basin, it’s like a trash can. Which isn’t the case,” said Olson.

Olson believes that if we are more aware of what goes down the drain, is just one step closer to improving the health of Lake Champlain.

“Stormwater itself can be really dirty. Stormwater contains all of the ‘stuff’ from the road so hydrocarbons, petroleum and anything that is coming off your car,” said Olson.

Next time you see Champ chilling next to a sewer drain, take a moment to clear it of any debris, she said. The lake will thank you.

If you are interested in becoming apart of the Stream Team, you can find more here.

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