Scouting project aims to protect storm drains

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Determined to not let his chance at becoming an Eagle Scoutfloat away, Clay Lambert is trying to raise awareness about what iswashing down city storm drains.

On Monday, the Boy Scout, family members and friends from WestLincoln Attendance Center traveled around Brookhaven placing “NoDumping” markers on storm drains.

“I’m glad we’re doing this to protect the environment and toraise awareness,” Lambert said. “It’s a good cause.”

Lambert, a member of Boy Scout Troop 120 with the Church ofJesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, said he came up with the stormdrain project after talking with his scoutmaster, Ricky Ward. Wardhad done a similar project several years ago, Lambert said.

During the project, Lambert has been working Johnny Biggert,storm drain project officer with the Mississippi Department ofEnvironmental Quality.

“This is done all over the state by our DEQ office,” Biggertsaid.

Biggert said approximately 38 communities are participating inthe storm drain awareness project, which was started in 2001. Hesaid it is something civic clubs, scout groups and others can do asa community service.

“It’s been effective,” Biggert said. “It’s been a realeducational thing.”

Biggert pointed out that much of the pollution in streams andlakes comes from fertilizers, used motor oil, litter and a varietyof other everyday household products and chemicals. The substancesare carried away by rain water to storm drains.

“People don’t realize when they put leaves and trash in theditch, it’s going to end up somewhere,” Biggert said.

Biggert said a common misconception is that storm drains lead towaste water treatment plants. To the contrary, he said, many stormdrains carry untreated water and materials directly to streams,rivers and lakes.

In addition to the storm drain markers Monday, Lambert andfellow project participants hung flyers on door knobs encouragingresidents to make environmentally conscious decisions. Suggestionsto help included:

* Keep grass clippings and trash out of the street and guttersThe items should be bagged or composted.

* Reduce fertilizer and pesticide use.

* Recycle used motor oil. Do not dump it.

* Park cars on grass before washing.

* Spread the word about protecting the environment.

* Put litter in its place.

Lambert has been in Boy Scouts since second grade. The17-year-old West Lincoln senior said he had to become an EagleScout before he turns 18.

Lambert’s mother, Robin Diffrient, was among those helping outMonday. She was proud of her son’s efforts and said she’s lookingforward to his achieving a new rank in scouting.

“It’s been a long time coming for the Eagle project,” Diffrientsaid.