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Geocaching activity provides education about stormwater drains

Richland County is hoping you'll take part in its 'Drains Aren't Dumps' geocaching series that teaches users about the importance of stormwater management.

RICHLAND COUNTY, S.C. — As the weather starts to warm, and students are on summer vacation, Richland County is hoping that more people take advantage of their 'Drains
Aren't Dumps' geocaching series. Geocaching is an activity in which people use GPS to seek out specific locations at parks or other outdoor areas.

RELATED: 'Drains aren't dumps': beautifying Columbia's storm drains

Chenille Williams, Education Program Coordinator with the county's Stormwater Management Division, is a big fan of geocaching and wanted to find a creative way to tie together 'Drains Aren't Dumps' and her hobby.

"I always thought it would be really cool for this series to have some sort of geocaching outreach program"

She adds that part of the inspiration came from painted drains that were commissioned by the county to bring awareness to drain safety. She wanted to find a new way to showcase the pieces.

"We decided to put the geocaches in the locations where the painted drains are."

Williams says that the series offers users a way to get out and be active, while teaching them about clean wastewater. At each geocache location, you'll find a notecard with printed facts and figures from the department.

"They get the information, they learn the lessons, and they have fun doing it."

Tim Kinley, a Columbia area native, moved from New York and is impressed with programs like 'Drains Aren't Dumps' because it shows that community cares.

"I’ve been seeing that very often, in fact I’ve been that more recently than I have in the past couple years, and I like seeing that a lot. I wish I saw more."

RELATED: Columbia looks for local artist to beautify storm drains

He adds that he likes the idea of keeping drains clean and educating people about them.

"Anything that keeps these drains clean or clear, I’m all for it."

To get involved visit the Richland County website and download a Storm Drain Series Passport. Put those codes into a geocaching website or the Geocaching App and hunt for the caches. Complete the passport and send proof to the Stormwater Division for an award.

Williams says that it's great for people to get out and discover geocaching, but what's most important is the message behind the series.

"Don't dump anything down a drain."

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