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'Drains Aren't Dumps' campaign is turning storm drains into public art

The campaign will bring attention to the harmful effects waste has on area waterways when they enter storm drains.
Credit: Richland County
In progress picture of storm drain at Richland Library Cooper.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Richland County Stormwater Management is partnering with Columbia Water, One Columbia and a local artist on a storm drain public art project.

The art project is part of the “Drains Aren’t Dumps” storm drain marking campaign that kicked off on July 12. The campaign will bring attention to the harmful effects pet waste, lawn clippings and excess lawn chemicals have on area waterways when they enter storm drains.

Artists submitted design proposals to One Columbia, a non-profit that works to promote collaboration through art, history and culture. A committee of representatives from the areas where storm drains are being painted selected Jessica Dame as the winning artist. Dame is painting storm drain inlets in neighborhoods and at select Richland Library branches.

“We’re really excited about this campaign because it creates another piece of public art, and it also brings awareness to the importance of having clean water in Richland County,” said Chenille Williams, education program coordinator for Richland County Stormwater Management.

Residents can get involved in the campaign by marking storm drains with metal medallion markers that read, “No Dumping—Drains to River.” The markers and needed supplies can be obtained by visiting myriverstartshere.org.