By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Keep Liberty Beautiful: Be mindful of what goes down the storm drain
Karen Bell
Keep Liberty Beautiful Executive Director Karen Bell.

Dr. Karen Bell

Keep Liberty Beautiful

Thank you to all the volunteers and boat captains who participated in our annual beach sweep on St. Catherine’s Island. KLB is also grateful to Half Moon Marina for supporting our mission and being so kind. We really do appreciate all that you do.

The trash collected on the island mainly came from things washing up from the waterways. Beachgoers left some things behind, but most of the trash was thrown in the water or storm drains. Mrs. Amada Jeffers, Keep Liberty Beautiful’s volunteer coordinator, noticed that during the cleanup.

The trash and debris collected were not left on the beaches by beach visitors. It came from other places. That is why cleaning up neighborhoods, streets, and parks is so important. Our next event is a clean-up for Your State Parks Day on Saturday, September 23, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Join us by assisting with sprucing up the Fort Morris Historic Site. To sign up, go to our website: www.keep You can also contact KLB at (912) 880-4888 or email us at klcb@libertycounty

Cleaning up the litter on the roadways before it rains helps stop stormwater pollution. Stormwater pollution starts with rainwater flowing over the ground. Stormwater that does not soak into the ground becomes surface runoff. Solid surfaces, like driveways, sidewalks, and streets, prevent the rainwater runoff from quickly soaking in the ground. This runoff becomes polluted along roads, parking lots, roofs, commercial areas, lawns, and farms. As the water flows along, it picks up anything in its path, including pollutants such as automotive fluids, fertilizers and pesticides, bacteria, sediments, litter, and pet waste.

So, this runoff leads to significant waterway issues. Surface runoff flows directly into local creeks, streams, and waterways or storm drains or sewers that eventually flow into waterways and could end up on St. Catherine’s Island.

Here are 10 easy tips you can do to prevent stormwater runoff pollution: 

1. Never dump anything down storm drains or in ditches. Many people wrongly think that storm drains are part of a sanitary sewer system that flows to a wastewater treatment plant. Storm drains directly link to local streams, rivers, lakes, and wetlands.

2. Pick up after your pet. Pet waste left on streets, sidewalks, yards, or trails near streams can easily wash into area creeks and streams. Pet waste can add harmful bacteria to our water that can make the water unsafe to swim or play in.

3. Check your car for leaking fluids, and recycle your motor oil. Improper disposal of used oil, which includes oil leaking from cars, contributes significantly to stormwater pollution.

4. Don’t litter! Pick up trash you see on the ground — even if it is not yours — and participate in a creek or watershed clean-up. Liberty County, our Rivers Alive Cleanup is October 28.

5.Use fertilizers sparingly, and sweep driveways and sidewalks after application. Use fertilizers according to your lawn and plant needs and the labeled instructions.

6. Compost yard waste, and sweep grass clippings out of street gutters after mowing. Most people don’t think of grass clippings and leaves as possible pollutants, but they can when they end up in waterways through our storm drain system.

7. Direct downspouts away from paved surfaces and slow water down. When rain falls on a roof, its momentum increases and gives it more power to wash pollutants into storm drains. By diverting your gutter downspouts to grassy areas, runoff can be slowed and allowed to soak into the soil.

8. Wash your car at a commercial car wash that is plumbed to a treatment plant instead of on a driveway or street. When you wash your car on the driveway or road, the dirt, grease, and soap can wash into storm drains directly to creeks and streams. If you wash your car at home, do it on grassy or gravel areas that can absorb the water without it flowing into the street.

9. Use integrated pest management practices for controlling pests around your home. Use pesticides cautiously.

10.Vegetate bare spots in your yard and terrace slopes to minimize erosion. Cover bare areas in your yard with mulch or vegetation. Leaving bare soil in your landscape can cause exposed soil to wash away during rain.

These tips can help save our waterways. To find ways to make a difference, check out our website, www.keeplibertybeautiful. org. To get involved today, contact Keep Liberty Beautiful at (912) 880-4888 or

Sign up for our e-newsletters