Hinesville Rotary Club members donated their time Saturday morning to mark storm drains throughout the city. The drains that were marked carry water and runoff through Bryant Commons to Peacock Creek and North Newport River, club President Marcus Sack explained.
Rotary member and Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission Director Jeff Ricketson told the Courier the purpose of the project.
“Clean water and literacy have long been a focus of Rotary International,” Ricketson said. “We have chosen this project to promote community awareness of how our daily activities affect water quality from Hinesville to the coast. Contaminants from everyday life in downtown Hinesville — like (gas, oil and brake linings), detergents, (animal feces), pesticides, fertilizers — find their way into our ditches, culverts and streams via 400-plus storm sewer drains.”
The club’s vice president, Brigitte Shanken, reminded the group they wouldn’t be the only group working along roadsides that morning. She said Red Cross volunteers would be picking up trash on Veterans Parkway.
About 20 Rotarians gathered at Bryant Commons, where they were issued florescent vests, cement caulking and caulking guns, latex gloves, wire brushes and about 40 markers. The markers are similar to the ones pasted by the city. Each round, blue marker says “NO DUMPING — DRAINS TO WASTEWATER.” The marker also includes the Rotary symbol and the words “ROTARY INTERNATIONAL.”
The participants were divided into small groups, usually two members per group, some of which included members’ children, who seemed to enjoy the marking project.
Club member Michelle Ricketson explained how each group’s map would note the location of the 40 or more drains they’d mark that morning. She demonstrated how they would scrub the concrete with the brushes before affixing the marker. She then showed how to apply the cement on the back of the marker and explained how to face the marker toward the road or sidewalk so it can be read.
“Please don’t place the markers so that they’re cattywhompus,” she laughed. “Most of the drains are going to be by a road, but if it’s next to a sidewalk, please turn the marker toward the sidewalk so pedestrians can read what it says. We want people to make people aware.”
She reminded members to be careful, especially those with children. She also reminded members that when they finished their routes to return to Bryant Commons for a cookout.
The marking project was expected to be completed before noon Saturday.
“We have several sponsors,” Sack said. “First of all, we got some help through a grant from (Rotary) District 6920. We also got support from OMI, Lowe’s and (First Presbyterian Christian Academy) Interact Club. I don’t think I’m leaving anybody out, but if I am, I do thank them.”