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If you take a walk around the streets of White Bear Lake, you might be lucky enough to hear children from Frassati Catholic Academy singing a song in honor of the four storm drains adopted by their school. Fifth-grade students at the school adopted the four storm drains in 2019 and have affectionately named them Pink, Cheese Curd, Stormy, and Mango. Not to be outshined, fourth grade students created an original song about adopting the drains. The service project is part of the school’s STREAM education model, which includes Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts, and Math.

Storm drains in our streets help to protect neighborhoods against flooding, but they also flow to the St. Croix River and local lakes, carrying litter and spring debris off the streets and into the water. In the spring, storm drains can also get clogged by mud and sediment, causing localized flooding on neighborhood streets. Like the students at Frassati Academy, you can make a difference by volunteering just 15-minutes a week to keep your nearest storm drain clear of litter, leaves, grass clippings and dirt.

To adopt a drain in your area, go to Adopt-a-Drain.org and use the map to find your neighborhood storm drains. Then click and sign-up to adopt one near you. Spend a few minutes each month picking up the garbage and debris along the curbline and near your drain. Then report your work online to so that organizers can measure the collective impact of everyone’s efforts.

To dispose of the waste you collect, separate it into three categories and place it in the appropriate receptacle: trash, recyclables (glass and plastic bottles, cans) and compostables (leaves and grass clippings). Sediment collected in the spring contains winter road salt and should be put in the trash.

Since the Adopt-a-Drain program was created in 2019, more than 10,000 people have adopted storm drains in the Twin Cities area. The program is a collaborative effort of Hamline University and the more than 60 government partners that participate in Watershed Partners. Partners hope to get to 20,000 adoptions by the end of 2020.

Adopt a storm drain today to help protect our water and keep our neighborhoods clean: Adopt-a-Drain.org. If you write a song about it, record it and let me know!

Angie Hong is an educator for East Metro Water, a local government partnership with 25 members - mnwcd.org/emwrep. Contact her at 651-330-8220 x.35 or angie.hong@mnwcd.org.

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